Gum Treatment

Gum Treatment

The primary etiology, or cause, of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene which leads to the accumulation of a bacterial matrix at the gum line, called dental plaque. Other contributors are poor nutrition and underlying medical issues such as diabetes...

The primary etiology, or cause, of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene which leads to the accumulation of a bacterial matrix at the gum line, called dental plaque. Other contributors are poor nutrition and underlying medical issues such as diabetes. New FDA-approved finger nick tests are being used in dental offices to identify and screen patients for possible contributory causes of gum disease such as diabetes. In some people, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. 

Periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontium—the tissues that support the teeth. The periodontium consists of four tissues:

• the gingiva, or gum tissue;

• the cementum, or outer layer of the roots of teeth;

• the alveolar bone, or the bony sockets into which the teeth are anchored;

• the periodontal ligaments (PDLs), which are the connective tissue fibers that run between the cementum and the alveolar bone.

 With the destruction of the gingival fibers, the gum tissues separate from the tooth and deepened sulcus, called a periodontal pocket. Subgingival bacteria (those that exist under the gum line) colonize the periodontal pockets and cause further inflammation in the gum tissues and progressive bone loss Signs and symptoms In the early stages, periodontitis has very few symptoms and in many individuals the disease has progressed significantly before they seek treatment.


Symptoms may include the following:

• Redness or bleeding of gums while brushing teeth, using dental floss or biting into hard food (e.g. apples) (though this may occur even in gingivitis, where there is no attachment loss)

• Gum swelling that recurs

• Halitosis, or bad breath, and a persistent metallic taste in the mouth

• Gingival recession, resulting in apparent lengthening of teeth. (This may also be caused by heavy handed brushing or with a stiff tooth brush.)


• Deep pockets between the teeth and the gums (pockets are sites where the attachment has been gradually destroyed by collagen-destroying enzymes, known as collagenases)

• Loose teeth, in the later stages (though this may occur for other reasons as well)

Patients should realize that the gingival inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless. Hence, people may wrongly assume that painless bleeding after teeth cleaning is insignificant, although this may be a symptom of progressing periodontitis in that patient.

Daily oral hygiene measures to prevent periodontal disease include:

• Brushing properly on a regular basis (at least twice daily), with the patient attempting to direct the toothbrush bristles underneath the gum-line, to help disrupt the bacterial growth and formation of subgingival plaque.

• Flossing daily and using interdental brushes (if there is a sufficiently large space between teeth), as well as cleaning behind the last tooth, the third molar, in each quarter.

• Using an antiseptic mouthwash. Chlorhexidine gluconate based mouthwash in combination with careful oral hygiene may cure gingivitis, although they cannot reverse any attachment loss due to periodontitis.

• Using a 'soft' tooth brush to prevent damage to tooth enamel and sensitive gums.

• Using periodontal trays to maintain dentist-prescribed medications at the source of the disease. The use of trays allows the medication to stay in place long enough to penetrate the biofilms where the bacteria are found.

• Regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning as required. Dental check-ups serve to monitor the person's oral hygiene methods and levels of attachment around teeth, identify any early signs of periodontitis, and monitor response to treatment.

Typically dental hygienists (or dentists) use special instruments to clean (debride) teeth below the gumline and disrupt any plaque growing below the gumline. This is a standard treatment to prevent any further progress of established periodontitis.

Studies show that after such a professional cleaning (periodontal debridement), bacteria and plaque tend to grow back to pre-cleaning levels after about 3–4 months. Hence, in theory, cleanings every 3–4 months might be expected to also prevent the initial onset of periodontitis. Maintenance: Once successful periodontal treatment has been completed, with or without surgery, an ongoing regimen of "periodontal maintenance" is required. This involves regular checkups and detailed cleanings every 3 months to prevent repopulation of periodontitis-causing bacteria, and to closely monitor affected teeth so that early treatment can be rendered if disease recurs.

Usually periodontal disease exist due to poor plaque control, therefore if the brushing techniques are not modified, a periodontal recurrence is probable