Gum Disease Treatments and Periodontal Care
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Maintaining your oral health isn’t just about keeping your smile pearly white. Caring for your smile goes beyond your teeth and straight to your gums. Without proper care, the gums can become inflamed, leading to damage to your bite and even tooth loss. This is one of the reasons that Dr. Weston Spencer emphasizes periodontal health and gum disease treatments at his La Jolla dental office, serving patients throughout greater San Diego.
Decades worth of research has found that oral health is linked to overall health, with studies showing links between periodontal disease and conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy risks. Because of the periodontal-systemic link, it is even more important to understand the importance of oral care and combating periodontal disease.
Understanding Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a disease within the gums caused by bacteria that collects within the small crevices around the gums. The infection causes inflammation and can lead to bleeding gums. As the disease progresses, it causes tooth decay and even tooth loss as the gums recede and the jawbones are damaged.
The problem starts with plaque that collects around the teeth. Over time, the plaque hardens and forms tartar. Typically, the tartar is removed with routine dentist visits, but if left unaddressed, the tartar will cause inflammation and early signs of gum disease.
In its earliest stage, gum disease is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis causes inflammation within the gums but can often be reversed with proper oral care. However, as it progresses, gingivitis advances to periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the gums to swell further and pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected and allowing plaque to form below the gum line. As your body fights the infection, the bacterial toxins degrade the gums, teeth, and supporting structures, eventually leading to tooth loss.
The Warning Signs of Periodontitis
Because periodontitis is a degenerative disease, it is very easy to spot the warning signs before the condition develops into periodontitis. Before periodontitis forms, individuals will experience reddened and inflamed gums, known as gingivitis. At this stage, gum disease can be reversed with proper oral care and preventative dentistry treatments before it progresses into periodontitis.
Screening for Gum Disease
During your routine dental exam, Dr. Spencer will screen you for gum disease. Your gums and teeth will be radiographed and visually assessed to ensure they are healthy. If further testing is needed, a periodontal screening can be performed to measure the amount of recession in your gums. If it is determined that gum disease is present, Dr. Weston Spencer will provide you with strict oral care instructions to prevent tooth loss and gum deterioration. As part of our effort to provide comprehensive gum disease treatments at our La Jolla office, you will receive a general teeth cleaning, as well as scaling if needed to allow the gums to adhere to the smooth tooth surface. Antibiotics may be prescribed to combat any infection.
Like all oral concerns, periodontal disease is easier to address the earlier it is discovered. If you visit our practice at least twice a year as recommended by the American Dental Association, Dr. Spencer will be able to diagnose and provide effective gum disease treatments before you face more severe problems.
Caring for Your Gums
With proper oral hygiene habits, you can avoid periodontal disease altogether. Brushing and flossing twice a day or after meals will prevent plaque from accumulating and causing damage. People are more likely to develop periodontitis in their 30s and 40s but even teenagers can develop gingivitis so men and women of all ages should pay particular attention to their oral care routine. Some medications and habits, such as smoking, can increase the risk for periodontal disease. Hormonal changes, particularly in girls and women, can make the gums more sensitive, making it easier for inflammation to develop.
Learn More about Gum Disease Treatments and Periodontal Care
Regular brushing and flossing paired with routine visits to our La Jolla dental office can help to ensure that you never develop periodontitis. Don’t delay – schedule your routine oral exam today by contacting our preventative dentistry practice today.