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Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common problem, but that doesn't mean it should be taken lightly. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss

Unfortunately, symptoms of periodontal disease are not always obvious until you’ve reached a point where damage has already occurred. 

Turn to Dr. Barbara Lewis-Heywood at Riverside Dental Center & Beauty Spa in Rio Rancho, NM, to evaluate your gum health.

Why You Should Treat Gum Disease Early

Preserve Your Teeth & Your Health

Bleeding gums and persistent bad breath may not seem like a big deal. However, they are often early signs of gum disease, which if left untreated can lead to gum recession and tooth loss. Gum disease is also linked to systemic diseases such as osteoporosis, respiratory diseases, and cancer.

Avoid Expensive Dental Treatments

Treating periodontal disease early allows you to avoid damage to your teeth and gums, which will require expensive dental treatments to repair. If gum disease becomes severe, you may need gum grafting, bone grafting, or even a dental implant to restore your oral health.

Improve Your Smile

Plaque and tartar, where bacteria lives, turns your teeth yellow. Professional teeth cleaning removes the bacteria and gives you a healthier, brighter-looking smile

Am I at Risk of Periodontal Disease?

While poor oral hygiene puts you at risk of periodontal disease, there are other factors that can make you susceptible:

What Our Patients Have to Say ...  5-Star Reviews


A Lov


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Dr. Lewis-Heywood is great! I made an appointment online one evening and got a call back from her within 10 mins. I was able to go in the next day to get my tooth fixed. I'm so grateful for her quick response! Having tooth pain is no joke. I will be recommending her to everyone I know!

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Ashley Ackerman


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With all of the anxiety and fear I have had with my teeth, I don't think I could have found another person better to rid me of it like Barbara has. I'm extremely excited to see what she is able to do for me.

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Do You Suspect Gum Disease? Request a Free Consultation

Do your gums bleed easily? Do you have persistent bad breath? Gingivitis is hard to spot with the untrained eye, but Dr. Barbara Lewis-Heywood at Riverside Dental Center & Beauty Spa in Rio Rancho, NM, can readily identify and treat periodontal issues. Early treatment will let you avoid more costly periodontal care later on.

Dr. Lewis-Heywood, in practice since 2000, offers late and weekend appointments to make treatment convenient. Leave a message or call to request a free consultation. If you are a new patient, come in to see our luxury amenities and meet our caring team. We draw patients from Rio Rancho and throughout the greater Albuquerque area.

(505) 226-3980

Dr. Lewis-Heywood

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that starts by gaining a foothold in your gums. It may then spread to attack the bone around teeth. 

The good news is that when gum disease is caught early, the infection can often be treated with just a thorough, professional cleaning by a dentist.

Unfortunately, early gum disease often goes unnoticed, which allows it to turn into periodontitis, which is more difficult and costly to treat

Tooth before and after gum disease treatment


Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is inflammation of the gums due to excess plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that is left on teeth from improper brushing and flossing.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and the easiest to treat. Symptoms include red, swollen gums or gums that bleed easily when you brush. However, while the gums may be irritated and inflamed, no irreversible damage has occurred yet. Now is the time to act.


When gingivitis is left untreated it progresses to periodontitis. At this point, gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, which creates gum pockets where bacteria can collect and spread the infection.

As the disease progresses, gums may recede, sores may appear in the mouth, and you may experience loose or sensitive teeth. Untreated periodontitis will damage the bone and gums that support teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss. 

Kind, Knowledgeable, and Patient-Oriented


Melissa Benavidez


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Dr. Haywood is kind, knowledgeable and patient-oriented. If you're looking for a dentist she is a great choice!

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Brandon Silva


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Dr. Lewis is very knowledgeable, she took the time to take care of me and did a great job. She is a great person.

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How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Just as there are different levels of gum disease, from early to severe, gum disease treatment varies based on your level of infection. Dr. Lewis-Heywood at Riverside Dental Center & Beauty Spa in Rio Rancho will carefully assess your mouth to personalize a treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms. Among the options: 

Non-Surgical Methods

A deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing removes tartar and plaque from below the gum line to remove tooth-damaging bacteria. In addition, the tooth roots are smoothed to remove rough areas where bacteria can cling. Dr. Lewis-Heywood may also apply Cervitec, a long-lasting topical treatment that successfully fights bacteria in hard-to-reach places such as along the gum line. 


Surgical treatments to fight periodontal disease include procedures that reduce gum pockets around teeth, where bacteria collect. Other surgical procedures, such as bone or gum grafts, restore a tooth's supporting structures. Dr. Barbara Lewis-Heywood often performs gum grafting to restore tissue that has been damaged by periodontal disease. Gum grafting can prevent further gum recession as well as cover exposed root surfaces.

A Closer Look at Gum Recession ...

Gum recession, also called gingival recession, can be caused in several ways but it is also a sign of periodontitis. It occurs when the roots of the teeth are exposed as periodontal disease damages the gums. You may notice gum recession if your teeth look too long. They will also look darker since they lack the enamel that protects teeth.

Unfortunately, because tooth roots lack enamel, they are more susceptible to decay and Dr. Lewis-Heywood may recommend a gum graft to rebuild the gums. The treatment is performed under local anesthesia and is generally pain-free. After new tissue is stitched in place, your body's natural recovery will complete the grafting procedure and your tooth roots will once again be protected. 

Teeth suffering from gum recession
Barbara Lewis-Heywood, DMD

Riverside Dental Center & Beauty Spa

Barbara Lewis-Heywood, DMD, is proud to offer state-of-the-art dentistry to patients from Rio Rancho and throughout the greater Albuquerque, NM, area. She is affiliated with SurgicalMaster. In addition to dental care, our office features a luxurious medical spa offering wellness and facial rejuvenation treatments. Some of our most popular services include:

We offer free consultations to first-time patients. To get in touch with our friendly team, please contact us online or call  (505) 922-6000 

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Rio Rancho Office

2600 American Road SE
Ste 230
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

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