Gum Disease Treatment in La Jolla

If you’re experiencing red, bleeding, or swollen gums, you’ve found the right practice. Dr. David Sabourin has more than 35 years of expertise as a general, restorative, and cosmetic dentist, including an extensive track record treating gum disease. He offers state-of-the-art gum disease treatment at his soothing and elegant practice in La Jolla using the latest technology, including a soft tissue diode laser.

Healthy gum tissue supports your teeth and jawbone, while creating a barrier against harmful bacteria. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth, even when you sleep. When plaque isn’t adequately removed and builds up, it can harden and turn to tartar (calculus) and cause inflammation and bleeding gums.

The goal of periodontal therapy is to reverse gum disease and prevent more serious repercussions, including bacterial infections, bone and tooth loss, and systemic health problems.

What is Periodontal Disease or Gum Disease?

Nearly half (46%) of adults aged 30 and older in the U.S. are affected by some degree of gum disease, with severe gum disease impacting about 9% in this age group. Research shows older adults have the highest rates of gum disease, with more than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older impacted by periodontitis.

When plaque builds up on your teeth and hardens into tartar, this leads to gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease. During this early stage of gum disease, your gums may feel tender and bleed when you brush. The good news is gingivitis is reversible with professional teeth cleaning and proper oral hygiene at home. The latter requires brushing your teeth after meals, flossing daily, and rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash once a day.

Advanced periodontal disease (periodontitis) can cause formation of gum pockets, bacterial infections, bone damage, and eventual tooth loss. At this late stage, bacteria grow, spread, and destroy the connective tissues and bone that support your teeth, while periodontal pockets deepen. Teeth can shift or loosen, thereby impacting your bite and ability to eat.

While gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, it can also lead to systemic health problems. Advanced periodontal disease is associated with worsening symptoms in people with diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease and research suggests it raises the risk of preterm births, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers in men.

What is Gum Recession?

Although gum recession can affect people of all ages, an estimated 88% of people aged 65 and older have receding gums that impact one or more teeth. Gum recession (also called gingival recession) is a type of gum disease that can expose the roots of your teeth. As well as being cosmetically unpleasing, receding gums can cause functional issues such as tooth sensitivity and pain and expose your teeth to infection and decay.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease?

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed while brushing or flossing
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • A change in the way teeth fit together when you bite
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures
  • Loose teeth

Gum Disease Risk Factors

Being aware of risk factors can help you take extra steps to ensure gum disease doesn’t negatively impact your smile and life. Risk factors such as age, genetics, female hormonal changes, diabetes mellitus, and the need to take certain prescription medications can’t be modified. But, seeking prompt medical treatment for any systemic diseases and conditions that affect your oral health is a crucial step in gum disease prevention. Poor oral hygiene and tobacco smoking are two risk factors that can be modified.

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Female hormonal changes
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Certain medications

Smoking greatly increases the risk of gum disease because it changes the temperature and humidity inside the mouth, which negatively affects the protective effects of saliva. The altered environment disrupts the normal healthy balance of oral bacteria. Toxic and carcinogenic compounds in cigarettes and cigars also affect the immune response in surrounding tissues, which increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Personalized Gum Disease Treatments in La Jolla

The first step is a consultation with Dr. Sabourin, starting with an oral exam to see if your gums are inflamed. Dr. Sabourin may use a tiny ruler called a probe to check for and measure any pockets around your teeth. Healthy gums should only have a pocket depth of one to three millimeters. In addition, he’ll ask about your medical history to identify conditions or risk factors that may be contributing to your gum disease.

Dr. Sabourin uses a soft tissue laser because this provides his patients with a gentler treatment method than traditional gum surgery. Minimally invasive laser treatment reduces bacteria and promotes regeneration of healthy gum and bone, without the need for a scalpel or stitches. The benefits of laser gum therapy include rapid recovery, less pain and downtime, and a better overall experience. In many cases, the laser enables gum disease treatment with just a local anesthetic. But, calming sedation dentistry is always an option if you suffer from dental anxiety or are undergoing a more complex procedure.

Scaling and Root Planing

This two-part deep cleaning is typically the first line treatment for gum disease. During scaling, Dr. Sabourin uses an ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar and plaque on tooth surfaces. This treatment specifically targets the area below your gum line, along the tooth roots. The second part involves smoothing out rough root surfaces to prevent bacteria, plaque, and tartar from re-adhering underneath your gum line. This also decreases gum tissue inflammation, enhancing the ability of gum tissue to heal and reattach more firmly to your teeth.

Crown Lengthening

Dr. Sabourin removes small amounts of gum tissue with the laser to lengthen teeth and create a more attractive and symmetrical gum line. In some cases, this is necessary to expose more of your tooth’s crown to support a filling or restoration.


Gingivectomy involves removing and reshaping loose and diseased gum tissue to eliminate periodontal pockets. Once the pockets are removed, the tooth roots can be thoroughly smoothed to heal the gums and restore the gingival contour. Gingivectomy is also used to remove excessive gum tissue and improve the appearance of a “gummy” smile.


This procedure is typically done in childhood to correct issues with the frenulum, the connective tissue located both under the tongue and just above the front upper teeth. Frenulum tissue that is too restrictive can cause difficulties with speech and eating. Loosening the tissue under the tongue allows better mobility and prevents related speech problems. Removing excessive tissue from the upper gums can prevent gaps in the front teeth and associated orthodontic problems.

Why Choose Dr. Sabourin for Gum Disease Treatment?

In addition to more than 35 years of dental expertise, Dr. Sabourin strives to understand every patient’s unique dental needs and personal situation. He is dedicated to delivering gentle gum disease treatment that exceeds your expectations, starting with explaining all aspects of treatment, so you know what to expect from start to finish.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Don’t delay and schedule a consultation. Treating gum disease symptoms early is about more than saving your smile, it can be lifesaving! With regular professional care from Dr. Sabourin and good oral health habits at home, gum disease doesn’t have to damage your smile ever again!

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