Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection caused by bacteria. Gum disease affects about 65% to 80% of adults in the U.S. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the gums. When bacteria build up in the mouth, it can cause inflammation, bleeding, and tooth loss.

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What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that often does not cause any noticeable symptoms. When bacteria build up on your teeth and gum line, that bacteria can cause your gums to become inflamed. The inflamed gums can pull away from your teeth, creating pockets where more bacteria can grow. Other symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Gums pulling away from teeth

Gum disease, including gingivitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. While early gum disease can be managed by a dentist, advanced gum disease is much more serious. If gum disease progresses and your gums pull away from the teeth, your teeth can become loose and may even fall out.

Non-surgical gum disease treatment

During the earliest stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, patients should avoid advanced gum disease treatments. Instead, they should consider non-surgical procedures such as the following:

Active therapy

Active therapy helps in understanding the severity and seriousness of the gum disease. We use specialized dental instruments to measure the intensity of the disease and provide appropriate treatments.

Scaling and planing (SRP)

Scaling and planing is a deep dental cleaning that removes bacteria and plaque from the gum line and beneath the gum line. SRP is a relatively quick and comfortable procedure that can be completed in one visit. A local anesthetic is used to prevent discomfort, and most patients experience little to no pain during or after SRP.

SRP refers to the removal of dental plaque and calculus (tartar) from all tooth surfaces. Scaling is the process in which your dentist uses specialized instruments to remove calculus from the tooth surfaces. Root Planing is the procedure in which your dentist smooths out the roots of the teeth and removes any remaining bacteria.

SRP is often recommended for patients with mild to moderate gum disease. It can be an important part of keeping gum disease under control, and it can also help prevent tooth loss.


Antibiotic medications are prescribed to help treat bacterial infections. Often, these infections occur in the gums, which can result in swollen, inflamed, and bleeding gums. While antibiotics cannot treat the initial cause of gum disease, they can prevent further infection and can stave off the need for more invasive gum disease treatment.

Laser gum therapy

Laser gum therapy is a method of treatment that is less invasive than traditional gum surgery. With laser gum therapy, the gums are cleaned above and below the gum line rather than being cut into to treat gum disease.

How to prevent gum disease?

  • Use a Waterpik after brushing
  • Floss regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce stress
  • Use mouthwash
  • Avoid tobacco use
  • Schedule regular dental visits
  • Visit the dentist at the first sign of a gum infection or bleeding gums
  • Schedule a deep cleaning if gum disease is present

Call our office and request an appointment with Dr. An today to learn about non-surgical treatments for gum disease.