Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. It is caused by a buildup of harmful bacteria along the gum line and between teeth. Bacteria tend to hide in hard tartar and sticky plaque. As they multiply, they release toxins that cause the gums to become swollen, to bleed, to irritate the bone around the tooth roots. Over time, the gums can recede, exposing more tooth surface, and make them more vulnerable to infection. Without intervention, bone loss occurs, which weakens tooth support and subsequently, the loss of the tooth.
In its early stages, gum disease causes few or no symptoms. Some patients may notice bleeding when brushing their teeth. As it progresses, gums can become swollen, red, and tender. Infections can develop below the gum line, making biting and chewing painful. Eventually, more of the tooth surface will become visible and the teeth will become loose.
Early stages of gum disease are often treated with more professional frequent teeth cleaning to eliminate bacteria and bring the condition under control. Moderate to severe gum disease is treated with more advanced procedures called root planing, which use special techniques to reach below the gum line to remove bacteria and release their toxins and poisons. Healthier bone and gum support occur with treatment.
Gum contouring is a procedure that reshapes the gum line to correct unevenness, including removing excess gum tissue that covers too much of the teeth or supplementing gum tissue that has receded. When the gums recede, more tooth surface is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and other damage. Some gum contouring procedures are cosmetic, improving the appearance of the teeth and gums so the smile looks more balanced and attractive. Other procedures are performed as part of periodontal treatment to treat advanced gum disease.
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