Posts for tag: periodontal disease
You've heard a lot about tooth decay, but maybe not so much on gum disease. So take this opportunity to learn about a leading cause of tooth loss among American adults.
Also called periodontitis, gum disease impacts oral health and systemic well-being, too. What causes gum disease, and how can you prevent it? The dentists at Mapledale Family Dentistry specialize in periodontics at their modern dental practice in Woodbridge, VA, and help patients have healthy gum tissue and great overall health, too.
Symptoms of gum disease
Sometimes people can see and feel that something is wrong with their gums (maybe gums bleed when they brush), but other times, symptoms of gum disease are more hidden. That's why semi-annual check-ups and cleanings at Mapledale Family Dentistry are so important.
On exam, your dentist may notice:
- Reddened, swollen, bleeding gum tissue
- A change in dental bite or in the fit of a partial or full denture
- Bad breath
- Pus at the gum line
- Gum tissue receding from the teeth (gums should form a little collar like a turtleneck sweater around each tooth)
- Tooth mobility
Unfortunately, when these symptoms are left unchecked, periodontitis advances, leading to tooth loss and destruction of supporting jaw bone.
Causes of gum disease
Bacteria which causes cavities also causes gum disease. This common germ multiples in plaque and tartar found in and around teeth and under the gums. Its corrosive acids eat away at tooth enamel and cause infection of the soft tissues and bone.
Poor oral hygiene--not flossing once a day and brushing twice daily as recommended by the American Dental Association--allows plaque and tartar to accumulate, compromising the gums. Additionally, a high-carb diet and hereditary factors play significant roles.
Treating gum disease
Prevention is best, says the American Academy of Periodontology. Reduce the sugar in your diet. Eat more fibrous fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water to keep teeth and gums clean and saliva plentiful. Stop smoking!
Also, brush, floss and get professional cleanings (every six months or more often if your dentist feels this is necessary). If you are at risk for gum disease, our dentists will measure and chart your gum pockets, the spaces between the soft tissue and teeth so they can track the progression of the condition.
Finally, periodontic treatment in Woodbridge may include scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning of teeth and gums or gum grafting to cover exposed tooth roots. Trust the professionals at Mapledale Family Dentistry to do what's best for your oral health.
Find out more
If it's time for your regular check-up and cleaning at Mapledale Family Dentistry in Woodbridge, VA, contact the office for an appointment. How you take care of your gums at home and through getting preventive dental care makes a huge difference in your oral health. Phone (703) 580-9800.
There are a variety of methods for treating periodontal (gum) disease depending on its severity — from routine office cleanings to periodontal surgery. But the goal behind all of them remains the same: remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar), the root cause for gum disease, from all tooth and gum surfaces.
The traditional method for doing this is called scaling in which we use special hand instruments (scalers) to mechanically remove plaque and calculus. Scaling and a similar procedure called root planing (the root surfaces are “planed” smooth of plaque to aid tissue reattachment) require quite a bit of skill and experience. They're also time-consuming: full treatment can take several sessions, depending on how extensive the infection has spread.
In recent years, we've also seen a new method emerge for removing plaque: lasers. Commonly used in other aspects of healthcare, lasers utilize a focused beam of light to destroy and remove diseased or unhealthy tissue while, according to studies and firsthand accounts, minimizing healthy tissue destruction to a better degree than traditional techniques. Procedure and healing times are likewise reduced.
Because of these beneficial characteristics, we are seeing their use in gum disease treatment, especially for removing diseased and inflamed tissues below the gum line and decreasing sub-gingival (“below the gums”) bacteria.
Dentists who have used lasers in this way do report less tissue damage, bleeding and post-treatment discomfort than traditional treatments. But because research is just beginning, there's not enough evidence to say laser treatment is preferably better than conventional treatment for gum disease.
At this point, lasers can be an effective addition to conventional gum disease treatment for certain people, especially those in the early stages of the disease. As we continue to study this technology, though, the day may come when lasers are the preferred way to stop gum disease from ruining your dental health.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”