Preventing Periodontal Disease

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“Everybody knows that it’s important to keep their teeth healthy.  We only get one adult set of them in our lives, so most people understand that it’s important to keep their mouth’s well-being a priority. Something many take for granted, though, is the fleshy pink membrane their molars are embedded in – the gums are one of America’s most overlooked organs in terms of hygiene and maintenance, which is ironic considering how much preventative measures can protect them in the long run.

 

The number one way to keep your gums healthy? Brushing thoroughly twice a day, same as you do for your teeth. Use a soft-bristled brush and take care to massage all along the gumlines, where many types of gum disease lurk, at a forty-five degree angle.  Two other areas to take extra care with when brushing: the surface of the tongue and the roof of your mouth. Both places serve as petri dishes for bacteria when neglected. You certainly don’t want to skip either.

 

Flossing is another habit that many people assume only benefit your enamel, but this is far from the case. Not only does it clear out physical debris and plaque trapped in the gums, it also stimulates them and improves blood flow and circulation, enabling them to maintain themselves even more efficiently.  Removing the plaque found in those hidden spaces prevents build-up and inflammation, which can loosen the gum around the teeth and create opportune pockets of space for germs to hide and fester in.

 

Lifestyle also has a huge impact on one’s periodontics – tobacco is absolutely the number one thing to avoid as a whole, as the carcinogenic effects of the smoke can cause the delicate tissue of the gums to deteriorate and decay.  Age is another factor – the older you are, the more attention your mouth is going to need to stay in good condition. Genetics are also something to keep in mind, as certain types of people are more susceptible to some problems than others. And, of course, the things you eat also matter a great deal; avoiding as much sugar as possible and eating one raw, fibrous fruit or vegetable a day is what most dentists will recommend.”

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How to Know if You Have Gum Disease

Closeup portrait of a successful business team laughing togetherThere are several warning signs that may point to gum disease. For many patients, bleeding gums trigger a wave of concern. Our dentists in North Hollywood are experts in detecting signs of gum disease and combating symptoms before they progress.

There are numerous factors that can contribute to the development of gum disease. For example, hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and menstruation are known to increase gum sensitivity, allowing for gingivitis to develop. Patients with illnesses such as cancer, HPV, and diabetes are at higher risk of developing gum disease. Any of these factors paired with poor oral hygiene, smoking, or a family history of gum disease are cause for concern. If gingivitis occurs and is left untreated, it can develop into gum disease. Several periodontal treatments are available to those suffering from gingivitis, and should be sought out promptly at the sign of infection. In order to prevent and reverse gingivitis, one should practice plaque control through daily brushing and flossing. However, this is not enough. Patients must receive a professional cleaning every six months to ensure their gums are healthy. Another step would be to maintain a well-balanced diet to promote a strong immune system. Vitamins E and C are incredibly effective in repairing damaged body tissue.

When is Surgery Required for Gum Disease?

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Gum disease is a common problem, and while it can be reversed in its earliest stages, it can also be quite aggressive. Without treatment, it can destroy the structures that surround and protect the teeth, leading to tooth and bone loss. For this reason, our periodontists in LA may recommend surgery to treat gum disease for some patients.

Bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that consists of bacteria and food debris, is the primary cause of gum disease. Plaque is constantly forming in your mouth, and good dental hygiene is required to remove it. If it builds up, the toxins released by the bacteria irritate the gums, which respond by becoming inflamed. The inflammatory response is defensive and helps destroy the bacteria, but it also destroys the gum and bone tissue.

You may benefit from surgery for gum disease if you have:

• Deep periodontal pockets that cannot be easily cleaned
• Exposed tooth roots due to gum recession
• Lost bone tissue around the teeth

A variety of restorative and regenerative procedures can be used to tighten periodontal pockets and regrow lost tissues. They will typically be performed in conjunction with more conservative therapies. Call our gum surgeon in Los Angeles to learn more or to schedule your consultation.

What Could be the Cause of Gum Pain?

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Gums can become swollen, inflamed, tender, or even painful for several reasons. Our periodontists in Los Angeles work to find the underlying cause of any gum discomfort. With the right treatment, your gum health and comfort can be restored.

Common causes of gum pain include:

  1. Aggressive dental hygiene

Brushing and flossing are among the most basic dental care needs, but brushing too hard and flossing too roughly can injure your gums. To protect your gum tissue, use a soft-bristled brush, and be gentle when you clean your teeth.

  1. Gum disease

About half of adults in the U.S. have some form of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque, which infect the gum tissue and cause an inflammatory response. Treatments can range from professional deep cleaning and improved at-home cleaning regimens, to antimicrobial therapy and surgery.

  1. Ill-fitting dentures

If you wear dentures, they may need to be adjusted or relined periodically. If your dentures do not fit well, they can rub and irritate your gums, causing sores and pain.

If you are suffering from gum inflammation, tenderness, or pain, call our expert in gum pain treatment in Los Angeles to schedule your consultation with our team.

Periodontal Treatments

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Periodontists are dentists that specialize in the gums. Many patients can do an acceptable job taking care of their teeth, but completely ignore their gum health. This leads to varying levels of gum disease.

A mild level of gum disease is called gingivitis. Symptoms include excessive tenderness, redness, and bleeding. At this stage, increased dental care and oral hygiene may be enough to reverse the process. This includes improved brushing and flossing, as well as more frequent visits to our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco.

If the condition has become more progressed, our periodontist can perform a scaling and root planing, or SRP. This involves using a special tool to remove the plaque and tartar from just above and just below the gum line. If this is not successful, a gum flap surgery is typically attempted next, wherein incisions are made in the gums in order to better access and clean the tooth roots.

Other periodontal treatments include gum tissue and bone grafting. Failure to seek treatment for gum disease can lead to deep decay, abscessed teeth, and even tooth loss. If you have recognized any of the above symptoms in your gums, schedule an appointment with our dentist today.

Are Periodontal Treatments Invasive?

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Many periodontal treatments are available from our expert. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, prompt treatment is important. The right treatment can reduce the risk of more serious complications and can even reverse early stages of the disease. Our periodontists in Los Angeles can recommend the best treatment protocol for your needs.

Noninvasive periodontal treatments are the first line of defense against gum disease. These usually include a deep cleaning process called scaling and root planing, during which all the buildup above and below the gum line is removed and the tooth roots are smoothed. This creates a healthier environment for healing. Antimicrobial treatments, frequent dental cleanings, laser therapy, and improved at-home hygiene can also play a role in your recovery.

In some cases, surgical treatments can be necessary. This usually occurs when the gum or bone tissue is too damaged to be repaired using noninvasive therapies. Surgical periodontal treatments are usually performed in conjunction with noninvasive treatments and can include pocket reduction surgery, guided tissue regeneration, bone grafts, and gum grafts. Many patients can benefit from a multi-pronged approach. Call us today to find out more or to schedule an appointment with our expert in non-surgical periodontal treatments in Los Angeles.

Is Oral Surgery Required for Treating Periodontal Disease?

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There are two types of gum disease. Gingivitis, the term most are more familiar with, refers to mild gum disease. The second type, periodontitis, is more severe. Periodontitis occurs when bacteria and other particles form in the mouth, which results in gum-damaging plaque when not brushed away. Fortunately, periodontists have a few different ways of eliminating this disease, and may need to resort to surgery.

At home

The main goal of gum disease treatment is to control the infection. Any ways your Los Angeles periodontist employs in office is best supplemented by care at home. Regular and attentive brushing is necessary, and you will be required to eliminate any related bad habits, such as smoking.

Deep cleaning

A scaling and root planning is a common procedure used to restore the health and integrity of the gums. Scaling involves removing tartar above and below the gum line, while root planing gets rid of rough spots on the roots of the tooth where germs collect. This process may require a laser. The result is less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.

Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed at this time to reduce infection. If these previously described tactics are unsuccessful, your oral surgeon in Los Angeles may recommend a flap surgery or a bone and tissue graft.