Happy Gums, Healthy Smiles!
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is very common. It is an infection that affects the tissues and bone that support your teeth. Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each of your teeth. When you have gum disease, the gum tissue pulls away from your tooth. As the disease gets worse, the tissue and bone that support your tooth are destroyed. Over time teeth may fall out or need to be removed. Treating gum disease in the early stages can help keep tooth loss from happening.
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It is hard to know for sure if you have gum disease. That is why regular dental exams are so important. Come see your gum specialist in Lake Worth, Palm Springs if you have any of these symptoms:
-Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing
-Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
-Bad breath that doesn’t go away
-Pus between your teeth and gums
-Lose or separating teeth
-A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
-A change in the fit of partial dentures
Causes of Gum Disease:
Plaque is a sticky film that is always on your teeth. Bacteria that live in the plaque can cause your body to react and make your gums become red, puffy and swollen. Plaque can harden when it’s left on your teeth and gums. Hardened plaque is also called tartar.
Gums that are red, puffy and swollen also start to pull away from your teeth. Spaces called pockets start to form between your gums and teeth. These pockets give bacteria a place to collect and grow. The bacteria in your pockets will cause your gums disease to get worse. These bacteria produce toxins, which causes your body to break down the gum tissues and bone around your teeth.
Treating Gum Disease:
If the gum disease is caught early enough (when it is gingivitis) you may simply need a professional cleaning. When the cleaning is not enough then a periodontal cleaning called a scaling and root planning is needed.
Scaling: We carefully remove plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket.
Root Planning: Then, the tooth’s root surfaces are cleaned and smoothed. This helps the gum tissues to heal and reattach to the tooth.
Scaling and root planning may take more than one visit depending on the amount of treatment you need. At follow-up visits, we will measure the pocket depths to see if scaling and root planning has been successful. If the pockets have deepened and the supporting bone is lost more treatment may be necessary.
If the pockets do not heal enough after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed. Surgery allows us to remove tartar and plaque from hard-to-reach areas. After surgery, your gums are stitched into place to tightly hug your teeth. Surgery can reduce pocket depth and make it easier to keep your teeth clean. If bone has been damaged by gum disease, you may need surgery to rebuild or reshape the bone. .
How to know if you are at risk?
Anyone can get gum disease, but there are other things that can raise your risk of getting it. These include:
- Not taking care of your teeth and gums. Be sure you brush 2 times a day, every day, and for 2 minutes each time. Clean between your teeth every day.
- Using tobacco of any kind. You are more likely to have gum disease if you smoke, chew or dip tobacco.
- Diseases that affect the whole body – such as diabetes and HIV infection – lower your body’s resistance to infection, including gum disease.
- Many medications, such as those to treat blood pressure or steroids, can affect your gums. A common side effect is dry mouth. This can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Tell your Lake Worth, Palm Springs dentist about all the medications you take and any changes in your health.
- Teens, pregnant women and those taking birth control pills have changes in hormone levels. These changes can cause gums to become more sensitive to plaque bacteria.
- Genes may play a role. If your parents wear dentures or you have a family history of tooth loss, be extra alert for changes to your gums.
- The bacteria that cause gum disease may be passed from parents to children and between partners through saliva.
Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Gum Disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes each time
- Clean between your teeth with floss or other between-the-teeth cleaner everyday to remove plaque and food from areas your toothbrush can’t reach
- Germ killing mouth rinse or another product (we would recommend)
- Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks
- Visit your Lake Worth, Palm Springs dentist regularly to prevent and treat gum disease