Gingivitis (gum disease) is the top cause of tooth loss among adults in the United States. Developing when harmful bacteria invade the tooth root pockets, gum disease occurs in stages and requires a different treatment approach depending on how far the disease has progressed. With practices in Westport, Connecticut, and between the Tribeca and Chinatown neighborhoods of New York City, Dr. Wynatte Chu offers comprehensive care for patients with gingivitis, by destroying harmful bacteria and restoring gum tissues so teeth remain healthy and strong.
Gum disease occurs when bacteria contained in plaque and tartar collect along the gum line. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that cause the gum tissue to pull away from the surfaces of the teeth. This creates space that allows bacteria to move down the tooth surface, resulting in severe gum recession and exposing the root pockets to bacterial infection. Once the bacteria reach the root area, the infection begins to eat away at the surrounding bone, loosening the tooth roots and eventually causing tooth loss.
Gum disease begins as a mild infection that often causes few or no symptoms. As it progresses, symptoms can include bleeding gums, swollen and tender gums, persistent bad breath, and pain around the tooth, especially when chewing or biting.
Dr. Chu is a skilled general dentist providing state-of-the-art care for patients with gum disease in all its stages.
For patients with mild gum disease, Dr. Chu may recommend more frequent routine cleanings to remove plaque and tartar, and prevent it from reforming.
For those with moderate to severe disease, Dr. Chu may recommend deep-cleaning techniques called root planing and scaling. In this procedure, special instruments are used to reach below the gum line, removing bacteria around the lower portions of the teeth and the tooth roots, and also smoothing the surfaces of the teeth so it’s harder for bacteria to “stick.”
Dr. Chu also may apply antibiotics directly to the root area to help destroy bacteria that are hard to reach.
Yes. One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is to see Dr. Chu every six months for a dental cleaning and checkup.
During the cleaning, Dr. Chu will inspect the gums for signs of gum disease, and she’ll also remove plaque and tartar buildup to keep gums healthy. Plus, she’ll provide plenty of guidance to help keep gums healthy between professional cleanings.
It’s also a good idea to limit sugary snacks since the bacteria that cause gum disease thrive on sugars. And of course, regular brushing and flossing are essential for getting rid of bacteria on the tooth surfaces.