Keep Your Gums Healthy
Periodontal Therapy in Carmel Valley
Periodontal (gum) disease is extremely common. About half of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. During the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, the condition does not cause any permanent damage. However, if gum disease is left untreated, it can progress into an irreversible case. If you believe that you may have gingivitis or gum disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bancroft at Carmel Valley Dental today. Proper, timely care is critical for protecting and preserving your gums and teeth.
Understanding the Basics
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease refers to an infection of the gum tissue, which is caused by poor oral hygiene, though genetics can also play a role. When you do not brush or floss properly, bacteria will begin to build up in your mouth in the form of plaque. Over time, plaque becomes trapped between your teeth and your gum line where it will begin to attack and infect the soft tissues of your gums. As a reaction to this infection, your gums may start to exhibit symptoms like inflammation, discoloration, sensitivity, and bleeding when brushing.
At first, the effects of this infection are rather limited. If it remains untreated, the bacteria will continue to attack the gums and supporting structures of your teeth, eventually causing permanent damage along with symptoms like loosening teeth, a shift in your bite, spongy gums, halitosis (bad breath), and pockets of pus that may form between your teeth and gums.
The best way to avoid gum disease is to practice proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing properly and seeing a dentist every six months for a cleaning can help prevent gum disease from ever forming. In addition, certain lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet, and avoiding excessive alcohol use may reduce your risk of gum disease.
Gingivitis vs. Gum Disease
What’s the Difference?
Gingivitis refers to the first stage of gum disease. During this stage of the disease, minor symptoms like bleeding when brushing, inflammation, and discoloration of the gums are usually noticeable. Luckily, gingivitis causes no permanent damage to your gums or teeth. It can be completely reversed with proper oral hygiene and periodontal care from Dr. Bancroft.
However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. This stage of gum disease is not reversible. It causes permanent damage to your gums and teeth. If it is caught early, its effects can be controlled and the infection can be mostly eliminated, but it will require constant maintenance. This is why early intervention from a dentist like Dr. Bancroft is so important. If you don’t get the care you need right away, your condition could progress from gingivitis to gum disease, which will require you to continue to get periodic periodontal treatments.
Reverse Gum Disease
Scaling & Root Planing
The treatment that is most commonly used as the first line of defense against gum disease is known as scaling and root planing, or a deep cleaning. This is a special type of dental cleaning that focuses on the spaces between your teeth and gums. During this cleaning, Dr. Bancroft will also smooth out the roots of your teeth to eliminate the bacteria which cause gum disease.
A scaling and root planing treatment usually spans two appointments, because half of your mouth will be treated in each appointment. Your mouth will be numbed, and then Dr. Bancroft will use special tools to scrape away tartar and plaque from between your teeth and gums. Antibiotics may also be used with scaling and root planing to help completely eliminate bacteria. This treatment, along with proper at-home oral care, can often resolve minor cases of gingivitis. Patients with gum disease, however, may need to have this treatment done 3-4 times per year to keep their condition from progressing.
Why Do My Teeth Look Longer?
Understanding Gum Recession
This is a common symptom of gum disease. As bacteria builds up in the pockets between your gums and teeth, the gums may begin to pull back from the teeth. This gum recession makes your teeth look longer because more of your tooth structure is exposed.
In most cases of gingivitis or gum disease, proper periodontal treatment with scaling and root planing can help eliminate this bacteria, and allow the gums to heal. Surgical intervention, known as gum flap surgery, can also be used to reduce the size of the periodontal pockets of bacteria between your teeth and gums, and firmly secure the gums to the teeth.
For Gum Disease
At our office, Dr. Bancroft uses the latest tools to deliver top-notch periodontal care. That’s why we offer laser therapy for gum disease, which is a great alternative to a traditional scaling & root planing. Instead of traditional dental scrapers and tools, laser therapy uses a specialized laser to deliver high-energy light into your gums which disinfects and removes damaged tissue. Laser therapy is faster and more efficient than traditional deep cleanings, and is often much more comfortable as it does not require numbing.
Caring for Your Gums
After Periodontal Treatments
Immediately after a deep cleaning, your gums may be a bit tender or sore. Discomfort may persist for a day or two, with sensitivity lasting up to a week or longer. If Dr. Bancroft has given you an antiseptic mouth rinse, make sure to use it according to the instructions she has provided.
It is important to take the proper steps to keep your mouth healthy at home. Brush 2-3 times per day for at least 2 minutes, and floss at least once per day. You should also eat a balanced diet, and avoid lifestyle habits that could heighten your risk of gum disease, such as using tobacco products.
Take the First Step
Periodontal Care in Carmel Valley
If you recognize any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to come in for a periodontal consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you see Dr. Bancroft for periodontal care, the better your outcome and the healthier your teeth will be. If you are located near Carmel Valley, stop by our office at 12750 Carmel Country Road, Suite 206, San Diego, CA 92130, or call as at (858) 755-3780 to speak with a member of our team.