Gum disease comes in two forms. First, the gingiva or ‘gums’ that surround your teeth become inflamed. This is called Gingivitis! If gingivitis persists for too long it will result in the bone to ‘melt’ away from the teeth, resulting in Periodontal Disease, which is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults. Because this disease is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have it. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease and if problems are detected it is best to aggressively and appropriately treat before it progresses further.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Some Symptoms Can Include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Treating Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:
- Non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
- Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
- Dental implants
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.
A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes, but will have lasting implications. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe an at-home fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth after their permanent teeth have erupted as a preventive measure against tooth decay. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal permanent teeth rather than baby teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants typically last from three to five years, although it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from childhood.
Oral Cancer Screening
At Advanta Dental we look beyond your teeth and are concerned for your overall health. There are significant connections between your systemic health and well being and your oral health. Oral cancer is just one of many of those concerns, that is why an oral cancer screening is performed at every preventative visit. These are relatively simple and quick and best of all, they are done at no additional cost.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or signs, please stop in for an evaluation and consultation.