Periodontal Disease Care in Encinitas

Periodontal or gum disease is a pathological inflammatory condition that affects your gums and the support tissues surrounding your teeth. Most adults suffer from some sort of periodontal disease. The two most common periodontal diseases are:

  • Gingivitis - inflammation of the gum at the base around your teeth
  • Periodontitis - inflammation and disease affecting your jawbone and surrounding tissues


Many people have experienced signs of gingivitis, such as inflammation along the gum line. In adults, this early stage of gum disease is very common and often goes unnoticed. Gingivitis has two forms: chronic and acute. The acute form of gingivitis usually comes with specific conditions such as infections, micro-organisms, or trauma. Chronic gingivitis is associated with the plaque that covers the teeth and gums.

While there is no specific practice which can prevent gum disease from advancing, regular brushing and flossing along with professional cleanings can help renew oral health. Several outside factors may propel the progression of gum disease such as genetic disposition, diabetes, heart disease, and certain medications. 


illustration of normal tooth and periodontitis tooth

When gingivitis progresses unchecked for too long, it can eventually develop into periodontitis, a more severe gum disease. Periodontitis affects your bone and supporting tissues, which can lead to the destruction of those tissues and the loss of bone and eventually teeth. The disease comes in waves, and you may experience rapid progression of the disease where it gets much worse, followed by remission periods where the disease is mostly inactive.

As gum disease advances, bacteria and infection will travel down your roots and to the bone, eventually spreading to nearby teeth and potentially your bloodstream. Because of this, periodontitis has been linked to systemic and cardiovascular diseases which makes gum disease treatment an important part of improving overall health.

Your treatment will remove the bacteria, infection, and reduce deep pockets formed between teeth and gums. Depending on the severity of your pockets, Dr. Yokoyama may recommend gum grafts to close the gap. Patients who have gum disease will need to return for maintenance cleanings three to four times a year to prevent the disease from returning.

What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?

There are many conditions which can indicate gum disease, and if you have any of them, you should see a periodontist like Michael Yokoyama, DDS and get a dental specialist's opinion.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Pus has appeared between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Continuous bad breath
  • A change in how your teeth fit together when biting
  • A shift in the fit of partial dentures

You may not experience pain in the early stages of gum disease, so it is crucial that you pay attention to these signs to identify and treat the disease when it is still reversible. If you think you may have gum disease, we would be happy to help with diagnosis and treatment. Contact our office today to schedule your first appointment!


What Procedures Does a Periodontist Perform?

Periodontists perform a variety of procedures to treat the soft tissues and bone which support your teeth. Dr. Yokoyama specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease as well as the placement of dental implants. He offers the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, as well as perform cosmetic periodontal procedures.

Some of the procedures offered include:

What is Periodontal Plastic Surgery?

Dr. Yokohama specializes in cosmetic dental surgery of the gums, known as periodontal plastic surgery. These procedures can help enhance both the appearance and functionality of your gums and teeth.

One of the core functions of periodontal plastic surgery is to establish the foundations for restorative and cosmetic dentistry, such as veneers, bridges, and crowns to improve the look of the gum line.

Aesthetic Crown Lengthening

If you feel that your teeth look too short, or that you have a “gummy” smile, we can help improve the look of your smile in about an hour with an aesthetic crown lengthening procedure. In this procedure, we reshape your gum tissue to show more of your natural teeth when you smile. We can apply this procedure to just one tooth, or all the teeth in a given section.

While the primary benefit of this procedure for most people is a better-looking smile, it can also help treat severe gum disease in cases where deep pockets have formed.

Gum Recession Treatment

Beautiful young woman smiling, white healthy teeth, clean skin.

Receding gum lines result when your gum tissue moves toward the roots of your teeth. Sometimes this happens with a single tooth, and other times it may happen to several teeth in an area of your mouth.

You may not have any specific symptoms, or you might experience inflammation, sensitivity, cavity formation, or exposed roots. We can treat receding gum lines with tissue graft procedures. Because your gum tissue serves as a defense against bad bacteria which creates infections in your mouth, gum grafts will rebuild the protective tissue barrier to help keep your teeth healthy for longer.

Functional Crown Lengthening

In some cases, we may recommend a crown lengthening procedure as a functioning component of several related procedures.

Reasons why functional crown lengthening is used include:

  • Tooth decay under the gum tissue
  • A cracked or broken tooth below the gum line
  • Bridge or crown-related lack of tooth structure for a restoration

During a crown lengthening procedure, we can properly adjustment the gums to expose more tooth enamel. The procedure allows us to repair your tooth with a crown or a new restoration to provide you with a better smile and improved oral health.

Regenerating Bone and Soft Tissues

Today, we use various procedures to restore your jawbone and supporting soft tissue, eliminating the damage caused by periodontal disease. We may recommend these procedures when periodontal disease has destroyed supporting tooth structures. They can help reverse some of this damage and help bring back more of your natural smile.

During this procedure, we fold back your gum tissue to remove the disease-causing bacteria. We then use membranes, bone grafts, or tissue-stimulating proteins to encourage your bone and tissue to grow back.

By getting rid of the existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue, we can reduce the depth of pockets caused by gum disease. You can further improve your chances of keeping your natural teeth by adhering to a good daily oral hygiene habit and keeping up with your regular dental visits. This can also help you reduce your risks of developing other health conditions associated with gum disease.

VISTA Technique for Soft Tissue Root Coverage

healthy white tooth on a shining blue background

Gingival recession manifests when your gums recede to expose more of the roots of your teeth. It is something that you should address right away because it can lead to hypersensitivity, erosion, root caries, and aesthetic problems if left untreated.

Recently, new treatments have come onto the scene, which can effectively address cases where multiple teeth have receding gum lines due to gum disease. One of the many leading-edge procedures we provide is the VISTA Technique. VISTA stands for Vestibular Incision Subperiosteal Tunnel Access. This soft tissue graft procedure allows us to treat gingival (gum disease-caused) recession of the gums in cases where gingivitis has formed multiple pockets around your teeth.

Simple Oral Hygiene Habits Help Prevent Gum Disease

Remember that the simplest things can make a difference in the prevention and treatment of gum disease. Brushing and flossing daily is important, as is keeping up your regular dental visits. If you have been suffering from periodontal disease or are concerned that you may have gum disease and would like a professional examination, please contact our office today to schedule your first appointment!


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