Gum disease is widespread in California. The problem is that most people don’t even know when they have it. If you realize you have red, bleeding, or puffy gums, Encino Dentist is here to help. We understand that periodontitis is a severe disease that, if left untreated, would result in serious health issues.
Definition of Gum Disease
It is also called periodontitis. It is an infection that affects the soft tissue that surrounds and holds in place the teeth causing chronic inflammation. When the infection sets in on, it produces bacteria that affect your gums and jaw bone. If the problem goes unattended for a long time, it could cause gum breakdown fostering tooth fall out. Gum disease has also been associated with health conditions like:
- Heart attack
- Stillborn births
- Particular cancers
Signs of Periodontitis
The reason why gum disease goes for a long time without detection is that most Americans don’t know the symptoms to look out for. The symptoms vary depending on the stage of the disease.
The first phase is gingivitis, which is the chronic inflammation of the gums due to plaque build-up. If the plaque toughens, it forms tartar, which continues to grow, causing gum infection. Some of the signs that can tell you are in this stage are:
- Little bleeding
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth misalignment
- Sensitive teeth
The phase is a stealthy one, and many people might not find out until the disease gets to the periodontitis stage. At periodontitis, the infection attacks without compassion. At this stage, you will realize your gum line edging down, thus separating the jaw bone and the teeth. If the breakdown continues, the teeth begin to fall off.
Note that you might go for a long time without periodontitis exhibiting any symptoms. The gum disease can progress into an advanced stage without knowing to weaken your jaw bone. It is therefore advisable to maintain regular visits to your Encino Dentist for checkups. That way, if you have the disease, it will be discovered at an early stage and treated, thus preventing spread.
Causes of Gum Disease
Several things can cause periodontitis. These are:
Poor Dental Hygiene
Dentists advise patients to maintain oral hygiene all the time. Part of the routine is brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. They also suggest that you go for a checkup typically. If you fail to observe this routine, plaque will build-up on your mouth over time, forming tartar. The tartar then produces bacteria that cause gingivitis, which, if left alone, becomes periodontitis.
Use of Tobacco
The use of tobacco products like cigarettes and others slows down blood flow. This consequently results in a slow supply of nutrients to the soft tissue holding your teeth in place. These products also weaken your body's immune system, thus making it difficult to fight an infection when it sets in your gums.
Organic Changes in the Mouth
During menopause or pregnancy, women experience hormonal and metabolic changes that may affect the natural balance in the mouth. As such, your immune system is weakened, leaving your mouth vulnerable to gum disease.
It is a dry mouth condition where your mouth lacks adequate saliva. Remember that your mouth needs saliva flow to protect it from gum disease. As a person grows older, the mouth might not be producing enough saliva to offer protection from infection, which results in gum disease. Particular medications also cause a dry mouth, which potentially results in periodontitis.
Lack of Specific Nutrients
Your body needs nutrition to function normally. Body, in this case, means even your gums are included. If they lack proper nutrients, they will be more vulnerable to gum disease.
Improperly Aligned Teeth
If you have misaligned teeth, you don’t get the chance to clean all areas of your teeth. Due to that, plaque will accumulate slowly, forming tartar, which produces bacteria that infects your gums.
Poor Functional Habits
Habits like grinding or clenching your teeth affect the surrounding soft tissues and can result in gum infection.
Diseases like HIV weaken your immune system, which exposes you to various infections. On the other hand, a condition like diabetes makes it difficult for your body to heal quickly. Because of these reasons, you might find yourself with gum disease.
Particular people in society are more prone to gum disease than others because of genetic makeup. If you belong to this set of people, even if you observe proper oral hygiene, you might end up with the disease. Taking a genetic test to identify if you are among these people can enable you to take appropriate measures to keep periodontitis at bay and get to have healthy teeth for a lifetime.
There are several medical issues caused by anxiety, including cancer and hypertension. Gum disease is also among the many health disorders that are caused by stress. The reason stress contributes to many illnesses is because it prevents the body from fighting infections.
Under gum disease, there are various options for treatment. There is a surgical and non-surgical treatment. Where the condition is not advanced, you don’t have to undergo surgery. Some of the treatment options your general dentist could use include:
- Professional Dental Cleaning or Prophylaxis
On a routine dental checkup, your dentist gets rid of the plaque and calculus that build up and harden your tooth surface. The calculus is what results in tooth decay or periodontitis. When the yellowish deposit, also known as tartar, builds up in your mouth, it will require professional cleaning. A professional will remove the calculus from both the upper and lower part of your tooth, preventing the chances of gum disease. In case the person cleaning your teeth notices signs of periodontitis, he or she will suggest undergoing prophylaxis at least twice within twelve months.
- Deep Cleaning
The treatment option is also called scaling and root planing. It involves teeth cleaning both below and above the gum line. Although the procedure is non-surgical, dentists usually make use of anesthesia. It consists of scaling away the calculus that has built-up below and above your gum line. Smoothing the rough spots on your tooth root is also part of the treatment, and it removes the bacteria from the gums, creating a surface for the soft tissue and the teeth to reattach.
Apart from these procedures, you can use a customized treatment like the use of antibiotics. If these medications are placed on the periodontal pockets, they can heal the gum disease.
Advanced Gum Disease Treatment
Under this, gum disease is treated using surgical procedures. Some of the treatment options are:
Pocket Reduction Surgery
The treatment is also called flap surgery. During the process, the soft tissues or gums are lifted back to allow for the removal of calculus. If the infection had damaged your gum tissue surface, it is also smoothened out during the procedure. When this is done, bacteria will have no place to hide.
After the tartar has been removed, the gum is then placed back comfortably to hold the tooth in place. Receiving this treatment reduces your risk of suffering periodontitis in the future.
If you suffer gum disease for a long time, the jaw bone will be weakened even to support an implant. Periodontitis also results in loss of mass by the jawbone. Bone grafting will help restore the lost jaw mass by helping the bone regrow in the areas where gum disease had eaten away. Alternatively, you can opt for tissue engineering, which is a procedure that enables your body to create a new bone and tissue faster.
Soft Tissue Grafting
After the gum recession, this treatment strengthens thin gums or covers the areas where the soft tissue had receded. The professional doing the surgery removes grafted tissue from the roof of your mouth then stitches it where the soft tissue had receded.
Advanced bone loss can result in the formation of craters in your bone. Bone surgery is done to smoothen these craters. Also, when you undergo pocket reduction surgery, the bone surrounding your tooth is smoothened, leaving no room for bacteria to gather and grow.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
The procedure encourages the growth of bone and soft tissue after the underlying bone is destroyed. A mesh-like fabric is installed in between the bone and the gum. The material prevents the membrane from growing in areas where the bone should be, thus allowing the bone and soft tissue to grow freely.
Note that surgical procedures are only used where the gum tissue around your teeth is very unhealthy to the extent no repairs can be done. Otherwise, if you have a gum disease that is not advanced, procedures like scaling and root planing can help take care of periodontitis.
Preventing Gum Disease
While there are many treatment options for gum disease, prevention is the most affordable and pain-free way to go. If you haven’t been infected by periodontitis already, your dentist would suggest regular brushing and flossing of teeth. Besides, the dentist will recommend regular dental appointments so that in case you have the gum disease, it is discovered and treated on time before it advances.
Again, you will need professional dental cleaning after every one hundred and eighty days to prevent plaque from building up, causing periodontitis. Visits to the dentist will help in the early discovery of oral conditions like cancer and other diseases. Maintaining a healthy diet will also be pivotal in maintaining good oral health.
If you suffer from dry mouth, you should understand this can result in gum disease. As a result, you should sip water all day long or chew sugar-free gum. Doing so allows for protective saliva flow throughout the day, thus keeping gum disease at bay. In case you suspect the dry mouth is due to medications you are taking like anti-depressants, heart medications, or contraceptives, you should inform your dentists about these side effects. Your doctor is likely to prescribe alternative medications. If there is no alternative, visit your dentist so that he or she can prescribe medication or a rinse to help increase saliva flow.
Cost of Treating Gum Disease
The cost of periodontitis treatment ranges between not less than five hundred dollars and as much as ten thousand dollars based on the severity of the disease. A procedure like professional dental cleaning or prophylaxis will cost you a minimum of thirty dollars and a maximum of $70. Scaling and root planing will cost an average of not less than $140 and no more than $210. You will also part with one hundred and ten dollars for periodontal maintenance after undergoing active therapy.
The amount of money you pay depends on the technology being applied to the treatment, location of your dentist, the kind of dental insurance you have, and the treatment plan.
Keep in mind that many insurance companies cover gum disease treatment. But before the procedure, confirm with your insurer if your health coverage policy can cover the treatment. If you don’t have an insurance plan to take care of treatment costs, your dentist can provide you with other options of payment that will ease the burden of paying out of pocket.
If you realize you are having swollen or red gums and you don’t know the dental expert to visit, go to your dentist for a checkup. He or she will conduct the initial diagnosis and treatment. But if the problem is at an advanced stage, you should be referred to a periodontist who has thirty-six months of gingival training. In the hands of such an expert, you are assured that, however, advanced the gum disease is, at the end of the treatment, you will achieve the desired outcome.
Find a Encino Dentist Near Me
If you discover you have gum disease, contact Encino Dentist right away at 818-650-0429. We provide surgical and non-surgical periodontitis treatment options at affordable prices. Visit us today or schedule an appointment so that our dentists can recommend a safe and pocket-friendly option of dealing with gum disease.