Gum Disease Treatment Professional

Michael Shakin, DDS

Dentist located in Staten Island, NY

Gum disease affects millions of people in the U.S., and many won’t know they have it until significant damage and even tooth loss occurs. At his Staten Island, NY, practice, Dr. Michael Shakin uses state-of-the-art techniques to diagnose, treat and even prevent gum disease to help patients avoid serious problems.

Gum Disease Q & A

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is caused by bacteria that hide in sticky deposits of plaque and hard tartar that form along the gum lines. These bacteria cling to the tooth surfaces, and as they multiply, they release toxins that irritate the gums, causing the gums to move away from the tooth surfaces. As the gums pull away, they expose more of the lower portion of the tooth, making it more vulnerable to bacterial invasion. This process continues until the bacteria finally reach the root pockets and the root itself. This advanced stage of gum disease is also called periodontitis.

What symptoms does gum disease cause?

In the earliest stages of the disease (called gingivitis), gum disease often causes no symptoms. Regular cleanings are so important for identifying and treating the disease before it causes more serious problems. As gum disease progresses, it causes symptoms like:

  • gum bleeding, especially when brushing or flossing
  • tender, red or swollen gums
  • sore teeth, especially when the tooth is pressed
  • chronic bad breath
  • loose teeth
  • tooth loss

Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss among men and women in the U.S.

How is gum disease treated?

In its early stages, gum disease often can be treated by having teeth cleanings on a more frequent basis to prevent tartar and plaque from building up along the gums and to provide the gums with a chance to reattach to the tooth surfaces. As the disease progresses, it requires more intensive, deep cleaning procedures called root planing and scaling. These procedures use special tools to reach below the gums to remove bacteria, tartar and plaque, and to smooth the root surface so bacteria can’t cling to the tooth. Antibiotics can also be used to destroy hard-to-reach bacteria.

What can I do to prevent gum disease?

Brushing and flossing regularly, using the proper technique of course, are very important to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar that harbor harmful bacteria. It’s also important to avoid sugary foods since bacteria also thrive on sweets. And of course, having dental cleanings every six months is also important for getting rid of plaque and tartar that do form.