What it is. The evaluation and treatment of diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, that affect the gums and bone supporting the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease caused by the bacteria in plaque. Gingivitis causes the gums to redden, swell and bleed easily. Periodontitis results when plaque spreads below the gum line and its toxins stimulate an autoimmune response that breaks down the tissues and bones supporting the teeth. 

Gum diseases can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • smoking or tobacco use
  • pregnancy
  • stress
  • genetics
  • puberty
  • medications
  • grinding teeth
  • diabetes
  • poor nutrition

When and why it's needed. Treatment is necessary to maintain oral health - teeth, tissues and bones. Treatment is dependent upon the level and range of periodontal disease and, if severe, can consist of surgery or removal of teeth. Surgeries can vary from pocket reduction procedures, regenerative procedures, crown lengthening or soft tissue grafts.