What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal diseases are ongoing infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth.

What Causes It?

Periodontal Disease as well as tooth decay are both caused by Bacterial Plaque. Bacterial plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may (but not always) cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily.

If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing Periodontal Pockets (spaces) to form along the tooth. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.


Initial treatment for periodontal disease usually involves scaling and root planing (also called a deep cleaning) and sometimes periodontal surgery.

Once the disease is brought under control, it is critical that periodontal maintenance procedures be performed on a regular basis by your dentist or hygienist.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Bacterial plaque is the main cause of periodontal gum disease. Treating periodontal disease is all about reducing your risk of damage occurring from bacteria and plaque causing inflammation in the living tissues that surround your teeth. Since we cannot completely remove plaque, there is no cure for periodontal disease.

Adults past the age of 35 lose more teeth to periodontal disease than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by proper oral hygiene care and regular professional examinations and routine dental and periodontal cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progression.

Other important factors affecting the health of your periodontal health include:

  • Tobaccco use
  • Medical conditions (e.g., diabetes)
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition


What is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure used to restore gum tissue where a new crown will be placed.

Reason for Procedure

Crown lengthening (or crown exposure) is required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue and not accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.


The procedure involves adjusting the level of the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question to create a new gum-to-tooth relationship. This allows us to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth.

When the procedure is completed, sutures, and a protective bandage are placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate your healing.

Burning Mouth

Burning mouth syndrome can be the result of hormonal changes or medications. We help determine the cause and create a treatment plan manage the condition. 

oral lesions

We address soft tissue conditions in the mouth. The tissue samples are examined by renown pathologists at UC San Francisco Oral Pathology Laboratory.