Healthy Gums Are The Foundation of a Healthy Smile
It’s normal to want teeth that are beautiful and healthy, but just as important as healthy teeth are healthy gums. Your gums are the foundation of your smile and a major part of your oral health, and just like your teeth, they’re susceptible to disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gum and bone tissue supporting your teeth.
Fortunately, at our San Luis Obispo office, we’re proud to offer preventative and therapeutic gum care to treat and prevent gum disease. Read on to learn how our preventative and therapeutic gum care treatments can enhance and protect your gum health.
What is Preventative and Therapeutic Gum Care?
Preventative and therapeutic gum care involves utilizing the treatments, tools, and techniques necessary for preventing gum disease or halting its progression. Our doctors offer preventative and therapeutic gum care to help our patients keep their gums, and in turn, their teeth in the healthiest possible condition.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease happens in stages and gets worse the higher in scale the stage is.
Gingivitis is the first stage, usually characterized by minor swelling and tenderness of the gums. At this point, with regular oral hygiene and deep cleanings at our San Luis Obispo location, gum disease is reversible.
Initial or slight periodontitis is the next stage, where the disease begins to destroy bone and gum tissue. This stage is usually characterized by your gums bleeding when you brush them although you may still not notice any pain. At this point, the damage is irreversible.
Moderate Periodontitis is very similar to the initial stage but the damage to the ligaments and bone tissue securing your teeth to their roots is more advanced. Additionally, the infection is now capable of entering your bloodstream and spreading to other parts of your body.
Advanced periodontitis is the last stage of gum disease where losing your teeth becomes a likely eventuality. Intervention will be necessary to stop tooth loss, although it may already be too late to save your teeth. Common signs of advanced periodontitis include:
- Noticeably bad breath
- Pus filled abscesses on the gums
- Loose teeth
- Pain when you bite
What Causes Gum Disease?
Common reasons gum disease develops include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Tobacco use
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
It’s important to remember that even people who practice rigorous at-home dental care may develop gum disease. That’s why it’s important to look out for the possible symptoms of gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Possible symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Shrinking gums
- Exposed tooth roots
- Gum tenderness
- Changes in the fit of your dentures
- Tooth sensitivity
If you believe you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to call our San Luis Obispo office at (805) 549-8483. From there, we can offer preventative and therapeutic gum care treatments such as the following.
Root Planing and Scaling With Micro-Ultrasonic Technology
Root planing and scaling is the process of removing excess plaque and bacteria from the teeth, gums, and below the gum line. The roots are also smoothed to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the pockets left by gum disease.
In the past, this procedure would be carried out with non-electric hand scalers. With the advancement of dental technology, our dentists use an ultrasonic scaler, a handheld device with a tiny tip that utilizes ultrasonic waves to more effectively remove plaque and toxins from the teeth and gums.
Benefits of Root Planing and Scaling With Micro-Ultrasonic Technology
- Less painful treatment
- Less chance of gum disease flaring up again post-treatment
- Faster healing due to less trauma to the gum tissue
Individualized Co-Therapy Regimens
Caring for your gums doesn’t end at the dentists’ office. We offer individualized co-therapy regimens for you to use at home which your hygienist will review with you at each appointment. Regimens are likely to include tips on:
- How to properly care for your teeth and gums
- Diet changes
- Ceasing the use of alcohol and tobacco products
- Staying hydrated consistently
Once your gums are in a stable condition, a recall time interval will be determined so we can provide on-going care to maintain stability and optimal oral health.
Oral DNA Laboratories
Our office is also proud to partner with “Oral DNA® Laboratories.” Using OralDNA’s easy-to-use kits, we can provide you with an in-depth look at just which bacteria inhabit your mouth, by testing for the DNA of the 13 specific harmful bacteria that can reside there. A 30 second “swish and spit” test is administered in the office and the specimen is sent to the laboratory.
The results are available within weeks and will tell us exactly which bacteria are invading your tissue and causing your gums harm. When determined necessary, antibiotics will be given based on the specific bacteria in your mouth. These are taken in conjunction with periodontal treatment to help you achieve the optimal tissue health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gum disease that’s caught in the gingivitis stage can be reversed with prompt and effective treatment. However, the time it will take to reverse gum disease will depend on factors such as the effectiveness of your treatments in relation to your case and how well you adhere to any advice given in regards to your at-home gum care. Your dentist will give you more specific guidance and advice on which treatments will be best for reversing your infection.
While gum disease on its own isn’t generally life threatening, moderate to advanced periodontitis can spread the infection through your bloodstream to other parts of your body. That’s why people with gum disease are often at increased risk of heart disease. Reasons such as these are why it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of gum disease and to immediately seek treatment as soon as possible.
It’s important to remember that gum disease begins in your gums, not your teeth. People without teeth can also develop gum disease. Having a tooth extracted will do nothing to stop the progression of the disease.
The exact cost of your gum disease treatment will depend on a number of factors such as the treatment methods you and your dentist decide upon, how many treatments you’ll require, and your insurance. Be sure to call your provider beforehand and ask them which costs they can cover. Since we want all of our patients to enjoy quality dentistry, we also offer financing options, including CareCredit, that can help make your treatment more affordable.
Preventative and Therapeutic Gum Care Enhances & Protects Your Smile
If you want a truly beautiful and healthy smile, be sure to give your gums just as much love and care as your teeth. To learn more about our preventative and therapeutic gum care options, call our office in San Luis Obispo by dialing (805) 549-8483 and schedule an appointment with one of our talented dentists. You can also fill out the contact form in the upper right hand side of the page to request a consultation and a friendly team member will return your message shortly.