Dr. Rich Higgs, DDSFree Consultation


What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease or gum disease is an infection of bone and the supporting structures of your teeth. It is estimated that 80% of the adult population has gum disease to one degree or another. Periodontal bacteria can cause an inflammatory reaction which leads to the destruction of the fibers that connect teeth to bone and can create a space called a periodontal pocket. While everyone has some amount of pocketing, the normal depths are 1 – 3 mm. You can keep 3 mm or less pockets clean by yourself with routine brushing and flossing. However, in situations of periodontal disease, the pockets are deeper than 3 mm and it is impossible for you to clean and maintain them. As a result, bacteria, and debris exist at the bottom of the pocket which leads to chronic gum infection. As we age, we become more susceptible to periodontal bacteria and lack of proper hygiene or cleaning is another reason for periodontal disease. Without treatment, teeth will lose enough support to become loose and painful and eventually will be lost.

How serious can periodontal disease get?

Gum disease does not only affect the gums and inside your mouth, but also affects your entire body! If you have gum disease you are also running the risk of many other much worse problems such as: stroke, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, gastric ulcers, osteoporosis and pre-term babies.

The only way to prevent problems like these from occurring is to care for your gum.

What are the stages of periodontal disease?


Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Gums become tender, swollen and likely to bleed. This generally can be stopped with proper oral hygiene and treatment from your dentist.

Moderate Periodontitis

At the moderate stage of gum disease, the gums deteriorate and begin detaching themselves from the teeth forming gum pockets, which allows plaque to collect below the gum line. This causes tooth roots to become susceptible to decay.

Advanced Periodontitis

This is an advanced stage of gum tissue and bone loss. Teeth become loose and may even need to be extracted. This causes difficulties in normal everyday chewing and biting. If advanced periodontal disease is left untreated, patients run the
risk of other serious health problems.

What are the treatments for gum disease?

Tooth Scaling

Scaling is necessary when plaque and tartar are detected at or below the gum line. Plaque and tartar are then scraped off the tooth's crown and root.

Root Planing

In many cases, the tooth's surface is smoothed by root planing after scaling.


Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses)may also be required to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis.

Tissue Graft

Often gum tissues around the necks of the teeth recede due to periodontal disease, genetically thin tissue, or aggressive oral hygiene. As a result of recession, tooth roots often become sensitive to cold. We can perform a variety of periodontal tissue augmentation procedures which can cover sensitive or unaesthetic root exposures.
In addition to improving aesthetics, tissue grafting procedures provide a thicker band
of tissue around the necks of treated teeth which improves the long-term prognosis.

Periodontal Laser Therapy

Periodontal Laser Therapy is a Non-Surgical Treatment For Periodontal Disease. The process is clean, less invasive than surgical methods, and promotes much faster healing than conventional surgical procedures.

Periodontal Maintenance

Once the gum disease (periodontitis) has been controlled, most patients require ongoing periodontal maintenance procedures to sustain health. This ongoing phase of treatment will allow the periodontist to assess your gums and make sure that your infection stays under control or remains eliminated. During these appointments, your mouth will be examined, new calculus and plaque will be removed and, if necessary, further treatment can be discussed. Without careful, ongoing treatment, periodontal diseases can and often do recur.

My gums are healthy but my teeth are too short

Chandler Dentist - Crown lengthening - Gingivectomy

Your teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they are covered with too much gum tissue. Gingivectomy via Soft Tissue Therapy is a procedure to correct this condition.

During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue are re-shaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth, to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.

I have difficulty speaking due to excessive gum /muscle tissue

Removing soft tissue growths with Soft Tissue Therapy offers patients a non surgical corrective option. With Soft Tissue Laser Therapy we can remove and reshape a number of conditions that effect normal oral function.

Call the Chandler Dentist today at (480) 812-2800 for your free Periodontal Evaluation!

(480) 812-2800 Dr. Rich Higgs, DDS