The term periodontics refers to the health and care of your gums and other supporting structures of your teeth.
The Diamond Dental Care team uses a variety of periodontal care protocols to treat and prevent gum disease and to keep oral health issues from progressing into more serious concerns and conditions.
What is Gingivitis?
If you have ever been diagnosed with Gingivitis it means your gums have become inflamed and tend to bleed when you brush, however, it can likely be reversed with diligent oral care, including daily oral hygiene, regular dental cleanings and advanced treatments like scaling and root planing.
With gingivitis, bi-annual dental cleanings help to remove tartar and plaque in areas that can be difficult to reach with brushing and flossing.
When scaling and root planing is performed at our Diamond Bar dental office, you will likely be provided with a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort. Root planing cleans debris that lies underneath the gum line, while scaling removes deep-set plaque from your teeth with a laser or other device. Bacteria that have invaded your gum line are often impossible to eliminate with normal brushing and flossing alone, and can sometimes pose a challenge even for regular dental cleanings.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease or gum infection, caused by persistent bacteria, that has progressed to the point where there is more significant damage not just to the soft tissue (gums) but to the hard tissue, bone and attachments that support and surround your teeth. The word “perio” means around and “dont” and “dent” are latin words for tooth, so a Periodontist is specialist trained to treat the area “around the tooth” which, of course, includes primarily the gums.
Periodontitis can become very serious and can cause teeth to loosen and eventually to fall out. It is actually a major contributor to tooth loss.
While increasing brushing and flossing at home can usually reverse gingivitis, periodontitis is more advanced and responds better to more aggressive therapies that can only be provided by a Periodontist, who is specially trained in the care of the gums. With periodontitis, more frequent cleanings, often every three months, will be recommended to help keep the disease under control, as well as nutritional supplements and deep tissue disinfection. There are some instances where gum surgery may be recommended.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis, it is reassuring to know that here at Diamond Dental Care in Diamond Bar we have a Periodontist in our office who will provide the additional treatment needed to help you control and care for this disease.
With gum disease linked to serious diseases like stroke and heart disease, treating it quickly and regularly is essential. The bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter your bloodstream through gum tissue, possibly affecting other parts of your body and can impact overall health outside the mouth. For example, periodontitis is linked with coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, and problems controlling blood sugar in those who have diabetes.
Your Diamond Bar dental team can help you detect, and even prevent gum disease if you are at risk for developing it.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis or you think you may have it, these dental education videos will help you understand possible treatments and recommendations that the periodontist will make to help control the disease as well as overall health implications. There may also be some surgical procedures your periodontist will recommend to get you on the path to oral health.
What are the signs and symptoms of periodontitis and gum disease?
If you have not yet been diagnosed with periodontal disease by your dentist, you may suspect you may have it and wonder what the signs or symptoms are. Healthy gums are firm to the touch and pale pink in color. There is no space between the gum and teeth.
Signs of periodontitis infection can include:
- Frequent or constant bad breath
- Painful chewing
- Tender, puffy or swollen gums sensitive to touch
- Gums that bleed easily or that are bright red or purplish in color
- Pink or red-tinged toothbrush after brushing
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
How does periodontitis progress in the mouth?
In most cases, the development of periodontitis starts with plaque — a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria. If left untreated, here’s how plaque can eventually advance to periodontitis:
- Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day removes plaque, but plaque can form again quickly as bacteria multiple in the moist environment of the mouth.
- Plaque can harden under your gumline into tartar (calculus) if it stays on your teeth. Tartar is more difficult to remove and contains bacteria. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more damage they can do. You can’t get rid of tartar by brushing and flossing — you need a professional dental cleaning to remove it.
- Plaque can cause gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis is irritation and inflammation of the part of your gum tissue around the base of your teeth (gingiva). Gingivitis can be reversed with professional treatment and good home oral care.
- Gum inflammation can cause periodontitis, which eventually causes pockets to develop between your gums and teeth that fill with plaque, tartar and bacteria. In time, these pockets become deeper, filling with more bacteria. If not treated, these deep infections cause a loss of tissue and bone, and ultimately you may lose one or more teeth. Chronic inflammation can also put a strain on your immune system.
Risk factors that can increase your risk of periodontitis include:
- Poor oral health habits (frequent skipping of brushing)
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy or related to menopause
- Inadequate nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
- Presence of certain bacteria
- Certain medications that cause dry mouth or gum changes
- Conditions that cause decreased immunity, HIV/AIDS and certain cancer
Certain diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease
- Smoking cigarettes, marijuana or vaping
What are the best ways to prevent periodontitis?
The best way to prevent periodontitis is to follow a program of good oral hygiene, one that you begin early and practice consistently throughout life.
- Good oral hygiene. We recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily — in the morning and before going to bed — and flossing at least once a day. Good oral hygiene prevents the development of an environment around your teeth that is favorable to specific bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
- Regular dental visits. See your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for cleanings. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends professional dental cleanings every six months in addition to daily oral hygiene. If you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing periodontitis — such as smoking or dry mouth, or you are taking certain medications — you may need professional teeth cleaning more often.
When should I see a dentist?
In short, right away. If you notice any symptoms of periodontitis, make an appointment with the dentists here at Diamond Bar Dental Care as soon as possible. The sooner you seek care, the better your chances are of stopping irreversible damage to hard and soft tissue caused by periodontitis.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy with Help from Diamond Bar Dental Care
Patients depend on and the dentists at Diamond Dental Care to treat them with respect and compassion to restore and maintain optimal oral health. Our commitment to prevention means we are happy to share how you can best care for your teeth and gums at home, and thereby enjoy good oral health for your lifetime.