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    Gum Disease

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    Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. The condition is characterized by inflammation and infection of your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. The main cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. However, even with proper brushing and flossing of teeth, some people are more prone to this condition than others. Some symptoms you could experience if you have gum disease include swollen gums, loose teeth, bleeding, and bad breath. Fortunately, several treatments are available depending on how severe the disease is. If you suffer from gum disease, the experienced dentists at The Lakewood Dentist can help you.

    Symptoms of Gum Disease

    The following are the common symptoms of gum disease:

    Pain or Sensitivity

    If you have gum disease, your teeth could be painful and sensitive. Receding gums usually cause sensitivity. Your teeth could also be sensitive because of being loose. If your teeth feel wobbly whenever you eat something, they will likely be painful or sensitive.

    Bad Breath

    You will have bad breath, also known as halitosis, if you suffer from gum disease. You could have bad breath even if you brush or use mouthwash daily. The bad breath is caused by the bacteria accumulating in the mouth, forming a hard tartar on your teeth. If you have hardened tartar on your teeth, you should visit a dental professional since you cannot remove the tartar by yourself.

    Loose Teeth

    The last stage of gum disease usually causes loose teeth. This happens because the disease causes the inflammation of the bone surrounding your teeth. You will start losing the bone once it is inflamed. Your teeth will start getting loose if you lose a large portion of the jawbone. Unfortunately, there is no way to tighten your teeth when it happens. However, with interventions like bone grafting, the lost jawbone can regrow.

    Receding Gums

    The advanced stages of gum disease can cause shrinking or receding of the gums. The root surface of your teeth will then be exposed. Your teeth will be sensitive in recession areas, particularly cold or hot temperatures. At this level, your gums cannot regenerate. Your dentist can perform a gum graft to restore the gums.

    Bleeding Gums

    Healthy gums do not bleed while you are brushing or flossing. You could have inflammation if your gums bleed when you brush or floss. This is the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis.

    Red Swollen Gums

    If you have gum disease, your gums look puffy, reddish, or swollen. Your gums will swell because of being engorged and filled with bacteria. Healthy gums are usually pink and very taut looking.

    Causes Of Gum Disease

    The common causes of gum disease include:

    Dental Plaque

    Dental plaque buildup is the leading cause of gum disease. Plaque constitutes different bacteria that can infect your gums. Therefore, you will likely suffer from gum disease with poor oral hygiene. In some individuals, genes play a major role in gum disease. Genes can change how your immune system responds to bacteria.

    Gum Disease Risk Factors

    A risk factor can enhance your possibility of suffering a condition or disease. Some gum disease risk factors include:

    Certain gum infections unrelated to plaque accumulation can also cause gingivitis. They include:

    Stages Of Gum Disease

    Gum disease starts when plaque builds up around your teeth. Healthy gums do not bleed or swell and are firm to the touch. However, gum disease can cause bleeding, swollen, and discolored gums. Gum disease can destroy your underlying jawbone, leading to tooth loss if left untreated. There could be a gradual breakdown of tissues around your teeth. Most people suffering from gum disease do not experience pain, particularly during the early stages. You, therefore, need to understand the warning signs. Usually, gum disease undergoes four stages, as follows:

    Gingivitis

    This is the initial phase of gum disease. It normally begins with puffy, red gums that could bleed when you floss or brush. Proper treatment can reverse gingivitis.

    Mild Periodontitis

    This is the stage where the bacteria have penetrated beneath your gums, affecting the supporting bone. Your gums could detach from your teeth, forming pockets around them. Bacteria and plaque could hide in these pockets because your floss or toothbrush cannot reach inside the pockets.

    Moderate Periodontitis

    This is where the bacteria erode the ligaments, soft tissues, and bones that hold your teeth if left untreated. You could have pus around your gum line, accompanied by bad breath. Most individuals experience pain at this stage.

    Advanced Periodontitis

    You could experience continuous bone loss as gum disease worsens. Your teeth could get loose and fall out. Gum disease is reversible if treated early enough. If the bone around your teeth is already lost because of the infection, the disease is too advanced and cannot be reversed. However, you can manage this situation with proper treatment and diligent, consistent oral hygiene.

    Whether Gum Disease Is Contagious

    The gum disease-causing bacteria can pass from one individual to another. An individual cannot contract gum disease through brief, casual contact. You can only contract gum disease through repeated, long-term contact, like kissing.

    Complications of Gum Disease

    Gum disease could worsen and affect oral health if you fail to seek early treatment. The disease can lead to a vicious cycle of infection, which could result in the loss of teeth. Most dentists reveal that gum disease directly impacts a person’s overall health and well-being. There is a close relationship between gum disease and other health problems like diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

    Diagnosis and Testing Of Gum Disease

    Your dentist can inform you whether you suffer from gum disease during a routine examination. Your dentist will first examine if you have plaque buildup on your teeth. The dentist will also inquire if you are experiencing any symptoms. He/she could also refer you to a gum expert for further examination and treatment.

    The gum expert could use a periodontal probe to measure the pockets around your teeth. This device could help the dentist ascertain how much bone you have lost around your teeth. Deeper pockets could mean your gum disease is more severe. Your gum specialist could also evaluate the following:

    The gum specialist could also take dental X-rays. The X-rays can reveal the areas of bone loss in detail. Your gum specialist could also look at your previous X-rays to assess how your bone has changed.

    Management of Periodontal Disease

    There are no specific drugs to cure gum disease. However, your dentist can manage gum disease with appropriate treatment. Gum disease is not curable because once you lose the structural support around your teeth, you cannot regain all of it. Periodontal treatment can rebuild your bones and tissue and reduce infection to some degree.

    Genetics is another factor. There are several oral bacteria, and some individuals are more susceptible to the kind of bacteria that causes gum disease.

    Stage one of gum disease is reversible. If gingivitis is detected early enough, it can be reversed with diligent oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning.

    Treatment For Gum Disease

    There are many ways to treat disease. The one that suits you depends on the severity of your disease and other factors, including:

    The typical treatment for gum disease includes:

    Using Platelet-rich Fibrin (PRF) And Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)

    Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are growth elements that quicken the regeneration of tissues and the healing process. A dentist can extract PRF and PRP from a small portion of your blood. He/she will spin the blood sample in a centrifuge to separate plasma from the red blood cells. He/she will then put fibrin or platelet-rich plasma at the surgical site. Apart from boosting healing, this therapy can also quicken recovery and reduce post-surgical pain. It is completely safe because it comes from your blood.

    Guided Tissue Regeneration (GTR)

    Gum specialists often use guided tissue regeneration alongside a bone graft. GTR usually assists in the repair of damaged bones. It also prevents the growth of soft tissues in these areas.

    The dentist would put an artificial membrane between your gums and the newly placed bone grafting material during GTR. Regeneration of the soft tissue is quicker than that of the bone. Therefore, the membrane keeps the space open to allow the new bone to regenerate.

    Gum Grafting

    Your dentist can recommend a gum graft surgery if you have lost gum tissue due to gum disease. Gum graft surgery is also known as tissue grafting. This procedure adds thickness to your gum line and covers exposed teeth roots.

    Your dentist will add tissue to the areas of gum recession during this procedure. The dentist can obtain this tissue from the roof of your mouth. He/she could also buy gum tissue from a licensed tissue or bone bank.

    Bone Grafting

    A periodontist can replace the bone you lost to gum disease using a dental bone graft. After cleaning the infection, he/she will put bone-grafting material into the areas where the bone has eroded. This material serves as a space holder or scaffolding, giving your body ample time to grow its bones after some time.

    Laser-assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP)

    Some gum specialists also provide pocket reduction using LANAP. A handheld laser is used to treat gum disease using this procedure. The laser targets the tissue affected by gum disease while keeping the healthy tissue intact. LANAP is typically a less invasive option compared to traditional pocket reduction surgery. Unfortunately, the results are average.

    Pocket Reduction Surgery

    The gum specialist will also clean the tartar, plaque, and bacteria from your teeth roots and smooth out any rough parts. After cleaning, he/she will reposition your gums and close the incision with stitches. Usually, dentists combine pocket reduction surgery with other regenerative procedures. The other regenerative procedures include guided tissue regeneration, gum grafting, or bone grafting.

    Pocket reduction surgery is also known as osseous surgery. Your dentist can recommend this procedure if you have moderate-to-advanced gum disease. The purpose of this procedure is to remove tartar and plaque that are so deep beneath the gums that your hygienist cannot reach them. Your dentist will cut your gums and create a flap during this procedure. This enables your dentist to move your gums back from your teeth roots.

    Scaling and Root Planing

    Scaling and root planing are the same as routine dental cleaning; however, unlike routine dental cleaning, scaling and root planing clean deeper under your gums. It removes bacteria and plaque that your floss and toothbrush cannot reach. Your dentist can recommend this procedure if you suffer from mild gum disease. A dental hygienist removes the plaque from your teeth during this procedure. It also smooths out your root surfaces to prevent bacteria from reattaching. Your dentist can accomplish this procedure using local anesthesia. The treatment can be completed in two dental appointments.

    Dental Cleaning and Improved Oral Hygiene

    If your gum disease is early, your dentist can reverse this condition with routine dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene. This conservative approach can eliminate harmful oral bacteria because there is no bone loss yet. This procedure also prevents the disease from progressing.

    Proper oral hygiene includes flossing daily, brushing twice to three times daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for examinations and cleanings.

    Preventing The Occurrence of Gum Disease

    Gum disease can cause various oral hygiene problems. It can cause bad breath, swollen or red gums, and tooth loss. It is easier to prevent gum disease than reverse it after an infection. Some of the ways you could use to prevent gum disease include:

    Consume More Vitamin C

    A deficiency of vitamin C is the primary cause of gum disease. Eating more kiwis, strawberries, oranges, and vitamin C supplements can boost your immunity against gum disease. Vitamin C has healing properties that prevent swelling and bleeding of the gums.

    Stay Hydrated

    Saliva is one of your body’s best natural defenses against dental plaque. After eating, your body produces more saliva to wash away plaque and food particles. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day enables you to maintain a healthy smile. Keep off certain drinks, like alcohol or coffee, because they dehydrate instead of hydrating.

    Eat a Balanced Diet

    A balanced diet can assist you in improving your oral health. Avoid sugary drinks and foods, which can cause tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and carbohydrates, releasing acids that can destroy your gums and teeth. Check the nutritional information on the package of any food item before buying it.

    Reduce Your Stress Levels

    Chronic stress can affect your oral health. You could be suffering from a condition known as bruxism if you clench or grind your jaw. Bruxism can damage your teeth or gums. Stress is the major risk factor for bruxism. You should visit your dentist if you grind your teeth during your sleep. The dentist can give you a mouth guard, which you wear when sleeping.

    Oral health issues associated with stress could also impact your immune system. When constantly stressed, your body cannot respond effectively to unhealthy bacteria that can cause gum disease.

    Floss Daily

    You must floss once daily to maintain oral hygiene. Flossing is important because your toothbrush cannot reach every surface of your teeth. Flossing prevents serious health problems by removing food particles between teeth.

    Brush Your Teeth Regularly

    Brushing your teeth twice a day is ideal. Brushing removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from your mouth. You should brush twice daily, for two minutes at a time.

    Use Mouthwash

    Swishing with mouthwash can remove excess food particles from your mouth. It can also lower the bacteria load in your mouth. Mouthwash that has fluoride can also strengthen your teeth.

    Teeth Cleanings

    You should visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleaning. Regular teeth cleaning prevents gum disease by removing plaque along the gum line and between teeth. Your dentist will also be able to spot signs of gum disease, like bleeding gums, during your routine cleaning.

    During teeth cleaning, your dentist will use a scalar to scrape tartar and plaque off your teeth. Tartar is a plaque that sticks to your teeth for some time. You cannot remove it without the help of a dentist. Your dentist will also use professional flossing to clean every hard-to-reach area.

    The dentist will also polish your teeth with a special toothpaste that clears surface-level discoloration. This will help you regain a naturally brighter smile.

    Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

    Alcohol can affect your overall oral health, just like tobacco. Alcohol dries a person’s mouth, allowing the bacteria to multiply and cause more damage to your gums and teeth. Alcohol contains an acid that can erode your enamel, leaving it discolored and more sensitive.

    Avoid Tobacco

    Using tobacco products and smoking cigarettes can cause many health issues, particularly gum disease. You should avoid tobacco products because they are harmful to your gums. Other tobacco sources, like cigars and chewing tobacco, are also harmful to your gums. You can only maintain healthy teeth and gums by avoiding tobacco products.

    Use a Gum Stimulator

    A specially designed triangular stimulator or rubber is better than a toothpick and plays an additional role in massaging your gums. A gum stimulator also cleans the surfaces between the teeth. Rest the rubber point between two teeth. Point the tip of the stimulator on the biting surface until it is at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Apply a circular motion for ten seconds and move to the next teeth.

    Drink Tea

    Green and black tea have polyphenols, antioxidant compounds that prevent plaque from sticking to your teeth. This helps lower your possibility of suffering from gum disease.

    Consider Vitamin D

    People with high levels of vitamin D are less likely to exhibit the signs of gum disease. Vitamin D is also an anti-inflammatory. It reduces inflammation and bleeding of the gums.

    The Health Conditions Associated With Gum Disease

    Gum disease can lead to an increased risk of certain health conditions, including:

    In pregnant women, gum disease can increase the risk of delivering a premature or low-birth-weight child.

    Find an Experienced Gum Disease Specialist Near Me

    Contacting a dentist immediately when you first notice the signs of gum disease is crucial. Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, is treatable. However, advanced gum disease is more aggressive to treat and could cause gum recession or even tooth loss. During the initial consultation, the dentist will perform a comprehensive dental exam to identify the signs of gum disease. Your dentist will also measure the pockets in your gums to determine the progression of the disease before devising the proper treatment. The Lakewood Dentist provides top-notch gum disease treatment to reverse or prevent the progression. Contact us at 562-423-1441 to speak to one of our dentists.

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    Contact our friendly team today at 562-423-1441 to learn more about our broad range of services and to get started!

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