Of Periodontal Care
If you believe that you may have gum disease (periodontal disease), proper periodontal care is absolutely critical for your oral health. The early stages of gum disease, also called “gingivitis”, cause no permanent damage and can be reversed without any long-term effects. If periodontal disease is left untreated for long enough, you may end up losing one or more of your teeth and causing permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Dr. Emily and Dr. Dustin offer judgment-free periodontal care for patients looking to prevent, reverse, or treat gum disease in Long Beach.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Protect Your Smile
Periodontal disease is caused by poor oral hygiene, though genetics play a role in how susceptible people are to the issue. If you do not brush and floss properly, oral bacteria and plaque will build up on your teeth and gums and eventually start attacking your gum tissue. For this reason, we focus on prevention and education at Dodds Dental. Brush your teeth 2-3 times per day for at least 2 minutes, and floss once per day. In addition, maintain a healthy, low-sugar diet and be sure to keep up with your regular six-month checkups at our Long Beach office.
Know How To Recognize
Typically, periodontal disease is fairly easy to recognize on your own. The earliest, reversible stage of periodontal disease is called “gingivitis.” Symptoms of gingivitis include swollen and red gums, bleeding when brushing and flossing, bad breath, and gum tenderness. If you do not get treatment for gingivitis, your gum disease may worsen into a more advanced stage of periodontitis. Symptoms of this include a foul taste in the mouth, gum recession, loose teeth, a change in your bite, and pain when chewing. If you recognize any of these symptoms, call us right away to schedule a diagnostic appointment.
Understanding Your Options
For Periodontal Care
The most common treatment for periodontal disease is a deep cleaning (also known as “scaling and root planing”). During this procedure, Dr. Dustin or Dr. Emily Dodds will use special dental tools to remove plaque and bacteria from between your gums and teeth and shape the roots of your teeth to help prevent further infection. Oral antibiotics or rinses may also be used to help eliminate infections. Other options for periodontal treatment include gum flap surgery, and in cases of irreversible periodontal disease, the extraction of your teeth and replacement with dentures or dental implants may be recommended.
What Causes GUM Disease?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that damages the soft tissue and jaw bone. It is caused by a buildup of plaque along the gumline. Plaque is a sticky substance containing bacteria that feeds off of left behind food particles and transforms them into acids that attack tooth enamel.
When plaque is left untreated, it hardens on the teeth and turns into tartar. This is when you run into problems. Tartar cannot be removed through regular cleaning at home, and it needs to be removed by a dentist during a dental cleaning. Otherwise, it will irritate and inflame your gums, eventually leading to gum disease.
Other lifestyle factors can increase your risk of developing gum disease, such as:
- Having diabetes
- Medical conditions such as AIDS
- Certain medications
- Family history of gum disease
- Being 65 or older
What are the stages of gum disease?
There are two main types of gum disease, which are gingivitis and periodontitis. Altogether, there are four stages of gum disease. Gingivitis is stage 1, the earliest stage of gum disease, and the only one that is reversible. If gingivitis is left untreated, it will develop into periodontitis, which can be slight, moderate, or advanced.
- Gingivitis: Early-stage reversible gum disease that presents as red, swollen, and inflamed gums that may bleed. At this stage, a traditional dental cleaning that removes plaque may be sufficient to clear it up. It is usually painless at this stage and can easily go undetected.
- Slight Periodontitis: This second stage is no longer reversible and will cause the gums to pull away from the tooth’s root. Gum pockets may form as a result of gum recession, which traps bacterial plaque and food particles that cause infection.
You will have more severe symptoms that were present in stage 1 with the addition of bad breath and bleeding when cleaning your teeth. At this stage, the infection has reached the bone and is causing bone destruction. Stage 2 gum disease is identified by gum pocket depth of 4-5mm. It can be managed but will require a deep cleaning through scaling and root planing.
- Moderate Periodontitis: Stage 3 gum disease causes more inflammation, gum recession, and bone destruction. The gum pockets will measure a depth of 6-7 mm, at which point your teeth may feel loose in the sockets. Bacteria will begin to attack your immune system and bloodstream. Stage 3 is also typically treated with scaling and root planing.
- Advanced Periodontitis: This is the most severe stage of gum disease, often leading to tooth loss and painful abscesses, gaps in the teeth, and severe gum recession. Bacteria extends beyond the gums and will require surgery to treat, such as gum grafts, bone grafts, or laser therapy.
Can gum disease be reversed?
Gum disease is reversible if caught very early on when the infection is in the gingivitis stage. Periodontitis can only be managed or slowed down but will cause destruction of bone and gum recession as well as a myriad of other unpleasant symptoms.
Regular dental visits are crucial because gingivitis is hard to detect due to the mild nature of its symptoms. During a bi-annual checkup at Dodds Dental, we can spot signs of gum disease and determine the severity by measuring the depth of gum pockets.
While gingivitis can be reversed with a dental cleaning that removes the buildup of plaque, practicing good oral hygiene can prevent plaque buildup in the first place. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily.
Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle to remove plaque from the teeth and the gumline and limit your intake of sugar, carbohydrates, and acidic foods and drinks. Drink plenty of water, use mouthwash throughout the day, and visit the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup. To schedule a checkup with Dr. Emily Dodds or Dr. Dustin Dodds, contact us online or give us a call at (562) 439-0754.
Your Appointment Now
Gum disease affects more than half of all adults in America, and it’s a serious oral health condition that requires proper care to prevent permanent damage to your teeth and gums. If you suspect you may have gingivitis or periodontitis, contact the team at Dodds Dental right away for an appointment. You can give us a call at (562) 439-0754, or come to our office in Long Beach at 5580 E 2nd Street, Suite 202, Long Beach, CA 90803. We’ll see you as soon as we can, and provide you with the periodontal care you need to halt and reverse the progression of gum disease.