Issaquah Gum Disease Therapy
Gingivitis and Periodontal Therapy in Issaquah
Your gum health is a lot more important than most people think. Unfortunately, believing that brushing is enough can leave you in a very serious predicament. Along with gum disease, you can experience a myriad of health-related problems due to damaged or infected gums, ranging from tooth loss all the way up to heart disease and increased chances of dementia. It is important that you maintain good oral health your entire life to support the health of your entire body.
What Causes Gingivitis and Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene, though risk factors (such as genetics) can play a large role. When you don’t clean your mouth properly, plaque and tartar begin to build up between your gums and teeth, causing infection. Over time, the infection will worsen, destroying the gum tissue and the root of your tooth, forming periodontal “pockets.” Bacteria continue to colonize this area and multiply, attacking your gums, teeth, and jaw bone, and eventually causing tooth loss.
What Are The Signs And Stages Of Gum Disease?
Gum disease has a number of different stages, and each one has different symptoms and signs. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is the least serious since it does not cause permanent damage to your gums or teeth. Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding when brushing
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Discolored purple or red gums
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Increased gum and tooth sensitivity
With proper care, gingivitis can be completely eliminated. However, if gum disease continues to progress, it moves into the next stage, called periodontitis. In this stage, permanent damage is done to the roots of the teeth and the gums. Symptoms include:
- Gums bleeding for no apparent reason
- Gum recession
- Changes in the position of your teeth or bite
- Pain when chewing or putting pressure on a tooth
- A foul taste in your mouth
The next stage of gum disease is called “advanced periodontitis.” In this stage, most or all of your teeth have been permanently damaged by gum disease. Symptoms include:
- Tooth loss
- Pockets of pus in between your teeth and gums
- Inflammatory response throughout your body
- Sores in your mouth
- Extreme gum recession, the roots of your teeth may be visible
Taking Care of Your Gums
As your family dentist, we encourage flossing each day, all the way down around the gum-line of each tooth. When you floss, make sure to get in between each set of teeth, scraping the plague off before it can become tartar and cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Don’t forget to see your dentist every six months, like clockwork. It is one of the most proactive ways to ensure that you come see the dentist on your own terms, not when an ache plans the trip for you.
Here at Eastside Family Dentistry, we make a point to encourage each of our patients to consider their periodontal health on a daily basis. We want you to understand just how invaluable the health of your gums really can be. Our goal is to educate you while we treat you so that when you go home, you feel informed to do everything you can to care for your gums properly.
What Treatments Are Available For Gum Disease?
Proper oral hygiene is key for preventing periodontal disease. If you brush and floss your teeth properly, you can prevent gum disease from forming. Beyond this, the most common treatment is a deep cleaning (also called “scaling and root planing”). During this treatment, Dr. Cristescu will use special tools to scrape bacteria and plaque out of your gum line and smooth out the roots of your tooth. This helps prevent bacteria from collecting and damaging your teeth and gums.
Antibiotics can also help fight back the infection. In more severe cases, you may also require surgical intervention, such as gum flap surgery. It’s extremely important to get treatment for gum disease as soon as you can since more advanced stages cannot be reversed.
The later stages of gum disease will cause permanent damage to your teeth, and the infection can never be completely eliminated, only controlled to prevent further damage. If you think you have gum disease, call Eastside Family Dentistry right away to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cristescu.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar between the gums and the teeth. Eventually, this results in an infection of the gums. However, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to your risk of developing periodontal disease.
The first and most common cause of periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene. If you do not brush and floss properly or see a dentist regularly for teeth cleanings, your risk of developing gum disease rises dramatically. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are both essential for removing food particles, bacteria, and plaque from your teeth.
However, there are other additional factors that can make you even more likely to get gum disease. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for gum disease. The toxic compounds in both smokable tobacco and oral tobacco products disrupt the natural function of the cells in your gum tissue. This impairs healing, and the ability of your gum tissue to resist infection, leading to a higher risk of periodontal disease.
Heavy alcohol consumption can have similar effects. Using alcohol to excess has been found to disrupt the “biome” of healthy bacteria in your mouth, leading to an increase in harmful bacteria. Exceeding the daily recommended intake of alcohol regularly could raise your risk of gum disease.
Another common contributing factor is dry mouth, also known as “xerostomia.” There are a lot of prescription medications that can inhibit saliva flow, and saliva production naturally decreases with age. However, poor saliva production makes it harder to rinse away food particles in your mouth and encourages the reproduction of oral bacteria. This raises the risk of both gum disease and tooth decay.
Finally, a poor bite or tooth position can make it harder to clean between your teeth and clean your gums, which may contribute to your risk of developing gum disease. You need to take extra care to clean your teeth thoroughly if they’re crooked, and you may want to consider a treatment like Invisalign for better oral health.
Maintaining Oral Health With Periodontal Disease
Once gum disease progresses past “gingivitis,” the first stage of gum disease, it is not reversible. However, it can be controlled. After you get treatment such as a deep cleaning (scaling & root planing) and antibiotics, you need to take a few steps to maintain your oral health.
This includes lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, ceasing heavy alcohol use, eating a “tooth-healthy” diet, and brushing at least 2-3 times a day. Daily flossing is also highly recommended to help minimize the risk of your condition getting worse.
You also will need “periodontal maintenance” appointments at Eastside Family Dentistry, typically every 3-4 months. During this appointment, Dr. Cristescu will assess your condition and make sure your gum disease isn’t worsening. She will also clean between your teeth and gums to remove biofilm and plaque, and make sure your mouth remains healthy and your gum disease stays under control.
As long as you keep your periodontal disease under control, it won’t cause any further damage to your teeth or gums, and your smile will remain healthy. So make sure you get help from Dr. Cristescu right away, and follow her instructions to keep your teeth and gums strong for years to come.
Do You Have Healthy Gums?
During your appointment, Dr. Alexandra Cristescu will complete a thorough examination of the health of your gums, teeth, and mouth.
Should she notice a concern, she will share her professional recommendation as to what she thinks will treat the problems the best. Together, the two of you can come up with the best treatment plan for your needs, and get the process started! Call us at (425) 391-9200 for an initial consultation today.
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