Gum Disease

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Gum Disease San Luis Obispo

Your gums are the gateway to your body

Research is showing the undeniable contribution of gum disease to systemic disease. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, low birth weight, and dementia have all shown strong connections to the health of the gums. Periodontal disease is a disease that affects the entire body and should not be taken lightly.

What is gum disease?

Over time plaque hardens into tarter, which can irritate gums so much they begin to pull away from the teeth.

Signs of gum disease

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, or if you find that you are unable to get rid of bad breath, it may be a sign of gum disease.


Gum disease symptoms often include:

  • Red or puffy gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

What happens if gum disease goes untreated?

If left untreated gum disease can be devastating. Some long-term effects may include:

  • Loss of teeth
  • Recession of gums
  • Loss of bone
  • Gum disease can contribute to or intensify systemic issues like diabetes and heart disease

How did I get gum disease?

There are many reasons you may be experiencing gum disease. The primary risk factors include:

  • Age – If you are 65 or older you are at higher risk for gum disease
  • Stress – Research has shown that stress impacts the body’s ability to fight infection, like gum disease.
  • Smoking habits – Research has shown that smoking is one of the greatest risk factors for gum disease.
  • Oral hygiene habits – Poor oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing can lead to infection below the gum line.
  • Genetics – There are genetic factors that may put you at more risk for gum disease.
  • Systemic Disease – Systemic issues like cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can negatively impact the gums.
  • Medication use – Many medications interfere with the body’s ability to produce saliva. Without saliva the gums and teeth are more vulnerable to bacterial infection.

The three stages of gum disease

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is caused by plaque buildup around the gum line which causes inflammation. If you neglect to brush or floss your teeth daily, this plaque buildup will trap bacteria, and gums that should otherwise be pink will appear red and swollen and you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss. However, at this point, gingivitis can still be reversed. The bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place have not yet been affected.

Stage 2: Periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, the infection progresses into periodontitis. At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums will begin to form pockets, deep hollow areas around the teeth that trap food, plaque, and bacteria. Your gums may begin to recede, forming gaps between your teeth. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further damage and tooth loss.

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis

In the final stage of gum disease, the bacterium that has been allowed to spread has destroyed the connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. The pockets that formed in the previous stage have become much deeper. This can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. Loose teeth that move around in the mouth may affect your bite. At this state, aggressive treatment is needed to save the teeth.

How do you treat someone with gum disease?

LANAP Laser Treatment

Three out of four Americans experience gum disease during the course of their life.  The condition is common and treatable when detected early. However, when left untreated it can lead to pain, infection and eventual tooth and bone loss. Dr. Colleran believes in providing the best technology and techniques for periodontal treatment and is proud to offer LANAP or Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure. Dr. Colleran is also an instructor for the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry, which teaches LANAP and other laser dental procedures to dentists from across the globe.

What is LANAP?

LANAP is currently the only FDA approved laser treatment for the elimination of gum disease. The unique dental laser removes the infected gum tissue and tartar under the gum line.  The laser also disinfects the area, selectively killing all bacteria that then allows for new, healthy bone to grow. The small, sterile wound is then sealed to the root surface.

LANAP vs. Traditional Periodontal Treatment

With conventional gum disease treatment methods, not all bacteria are eliminated, so recurrence is a common problem. Laser therapy stops the infection and eradicates all bacteria leaving the gum pocket disease-free. Tissue has time to heal and in some cases even reattaches to normal depth. As there is no need for incisions or stitches, there is little bleeding or swelling if any at all. There is little to no discomfort during the procedure and requires a short recovery time.

Why patients ask for LANAP

  • No incisions or stitches
  • No bleeding or swelling
  • Minimal to no pain
  • No gum recession
  • No tooth sensitivity
  • Actual regrowth of bone and attachment
  • Reduction of deep pockets
  • Patients that have diabetes, bleeding disorders or are on medications, such as blood thinners can be treated safely

If you have been diagnosed with gum disease or have the symptoms of gum disease, contact Dr. Colleran and his team today (805) 543-0814 or schedule an appointment online.

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