Posts for tag: gum disease
We’ve developed a number of effective treatments for periodontal (gum) disease. Depending on how far and deep a patient’s infection has advanced, treatment can be quite invasive and even require surgery. The more invasive, the longer and more uncomfortable the healing process can be.
But using a medical laser could make that less so. Although its use for gum disease treatment is still in its infancy, the latest observations from the field seem to show patients undergoing laser treatment may have less tissue trauma and bleeding, less discomfort after the procedure and quicker healing times.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection mostly caused by dental plaque, a thin film of food particles that build up on teeth in the absence of effective oral hygiene. The infection can advance deep below the gum line, weakening gum attachment to teeth and destroying supporting bone. Ultimately the affected teeth can be lost.
Traditionally, the only way to stop the disease is to manually remove plaque buildup on teeth and gum surfaces, which is continuing to sustain the infection, with special hand instruments called scalers or ultrasonic equipment. Because it’s important to remove as much plaque and diseased tissue as possible, we may need to perform a surgical procedure called flap surgery to move some of the gum tissues out of the way to get to these deeper areas. As with any surgery, this can create tissue trauma that may cause discomfort during the healing process.
Our new alternative is to use an Nd:YAG medical laser in a procedure known as Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure or LANAP. With light energy delivered through a small fiber no more than the width of three human hairs, the laser can pinpoint diseased tissue and destroy bacteria through intense heat. Because of the laser beam’s tiny width and pulsing action, healthy tissue is at less risk for trauma than with the traditional treatment.
Coupled with other techniques, LANAP procedures could remove as much infected tissue and plaque as traditional methods, but with less healthy tissue trauma. In the future, then, patients with advanced gum disease undergoing laser treatment could have less bleeding and discomfort and faster healing times.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treating Gum Disease with Lasers.”
At Ultimate Dental Studio, located in Port Orange, FL, Dr. Jeffrey Kim gives his patients the necessary information to help them maintain a healthy oral regimen.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is painful, so maintaining good oral hygiene is vital. Gum disease is when a bacteria attack your gums and causes inflammation.
You may experience a variety of issues as a result of gum disease:
- Gum recession
- Bone loss around your teeth
- Tooth loss
Causes of gum disease
Gum disease is related to poor oral hygiene. When a person neglects to take care of their teeth, the rest of their mouth suffers.
Here are a few things that may lead to gum disease:
- Choosing to eat unhealthy foods containing sugars that lead to plaque accumulation
- Chewing tobacco and smoking
- Skipping bi-annual doctor's appointments
Symptoms of gum disease
You may not know you have gum disease at an early stage if you're not visiting your dentist, here are a few symptoms:
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Redness or swelling of the gums
- Periodontal abscess
- Loose teeth
Treatment of gum disease
There are a few treatment options your doctor may provide you with, here are some:
- Manually removing plaque by scaling, root planning or debridement.
- Periodontal surgery may be required depending on the severity of your gum disease
- Applying antimicrobial products to assist in the healing process of periodontal disease.
Your gums are just as important as any part of your dental/oral health. Improper care may lead to severe issues or diseases as mentioned above. If you have questions or concerns about gum disease or gum disease therapy, call Dr. Jeffrey Kim at Port Orange, FL.
Although periodontal (gum) disease usually affects your gums first, your teeth may eventually suffer. That’s because the disease can damage both attaching gum tissues and supporting bone.
One advanced sign of this is when one or more teeth become loose. A loose tooth is an alarm bell that you’re about to lose it.
Fortunately, we can often treat loose diseased teeth with a two-phase approach. First and foremost, we need to bring the gum infection under control by removing plaque and calculus (tartar) — the “fuel” for the infection — from all tooth and gum surfaces. Depending on how extensive it is, we have options: we can use specially designed hand instruments to remove plaque and calculus, ultrasonic equipment that loosens and flushes plaque and calculus away, or, if necessary, conventional or laser surgery.
Depending on the extent of the infection, in some cases we may need to use regenerative surgical techniques like gum and bone grafting to replace lost tissue. Healing takes time, though, which leads to the second phase of treatment — securing the loose tooth during gum healing.
The most common way is through a bite adjustment, where teeth are altered to equilibrate chewing forces evenly. This results in all the teeth being hit at the same time allowing the loose teeth to heal and tighten up.
Another option is splinting teeth together. Although there are different methods, the basic idea is to join the loose teeth with stable teeth like pickets in a fence. One way is to bond splinting material across the back surfaces of the involved teeth. Another way is to cut in a small channel across the teeth and insert and bond a rigid strip of metal to splint the teeth in place.
The splint is usually a temporary measure while the gums heal. In some situations, though, we may need to perform a permanent splint by crowning the affected teeth and then splinting the crowns together. If you have a grinding habit we may also prescribe a night guard to limit the damage done while you sleep.
Before deciding on which technique is best for you, we would first need to evaluate the health of the affected teeth to see whether the effort would be worth it. It could be the tooth’s supporting bone structure has become so deteriorated that it might be better to extract the tooth and consider an implant or other replacement. First, though, we would attempt if at all practical to save the tooth — and the sooner we begin treating it, the better your chances for such an outcome.
If you would like more information on loose teeth and gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treatment for Loose Teeth.”
Learning you’re pregnant can be a joyous moment. But it also means life is about to change as you focus on protecting you and your child from anything that endangers your health.
Because of these new concerns you might even hesitate about receiving dental care, especially involving anesthesia. But several medical organizations representing doctors, OB-GYN physicians and dentists wholeheartedly recommend continuing regular dental visits during pregnancy.
In fact, you should continue them because you’re pregnant: physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy could increase your risk of dental disease.
For, example, your consumption of carbohydrates (like sugar) could increase, which in turn increases your risk of tooth decay. You’ll also need to be more concerned about dental plaque, a thin bacterial film on your teeth that can cause disease. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may make you more sensitive to plaque, and thus more susceptible to disease — especially periodontal (gum) disease.
In fact, a specific form of gum disease called pregnancy gingivitis affects around 40% of expectant women at some point in their pregnancy. And if you already have gum disease, pregnancy could worsen it. Left untreated the disease could develop into more severe periodontitis, which may significantly damage your teeth’s support structures far below the gum line, leading to bone loss, which could result in the eventual loss of your teeth. Daily brushing and flossing, regular cleanings and checkups and, if your dentist prescribes it, antibacterial mouth rinses can help you stay ahead of it.
But what about other procedures while you’re pregnant? It may be best to wait on elective treatments for cosmetic purposes until after the baby is born. But some situations like deep tooth decay that could require a root canal treatment may become too serious to postpone.
Fortunately, several studies have shown it’s safe for pregnant women to undergo many dental procedures including tooth fillings or extractions. And receiving local anesthesia doesn’t appear to pose a danger either.
The important thing is to remain diligent with your own personal hygiene — brushing and flossing — and making other healthy choices like eating a nutritious diet. And be sure to let your dentist know about your pregnancy to help guide your dental treatment over the next few months.
Many patients are shocked to learn that gum disease affects nearly half of all American adults. Many of those affected don’t know that they have this condition. It’s prevalent in patients who don’t visit the dentist’s office enough for checkups and who don’t keep up with regular brushing and flossing. Learn the signs of gum disease so that you can take immediate steps to resolve this problem with help from Ultimate Dental Studio in Port Orange, FL.
Understanding Gum Disease
Gum disease happens when the gums become infected with bad bacteria. The presence and growth of bad bacteria causes inflammation in the gums. The bone tissue beneath the gum line deteriorates over time if it’s not treated. In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis and when it progresses it’s called periodontitis. Cases range from mild to severe. Each stage requires a specific treatment or solution and in many cases the condition can be successfully cured with periodontal therapy.
Signs of Gum Disease
If you want to know if you’re one of the many American adults who have gum disease, here are a few clear signs of this oral condition:
- Red or blackening gums (healthy gums are pink).
- Bleeding every time that you brush or floss.
- Loosening teeth or pockets around the teeth.
- Unpleasant odor from the mouth that doesn’t go away after rinsing with mouthwash.
Getting Back to Healthy Gums
If you’re diagnosed with gum disease, rest assured that there are treatments available that can bring your gums back to good health. Here are the options your dentist will discuss with you:
- Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing).
- Bone/gum grafting (adding bone tissue to help aid healing and strengthen the root of the tooth).
- Periodontal flap surgery (to reduce or remove periodontal pockets).
Get Treatment Today in Port Orange
If you believe you have gum disease, make an appointment with Dr. Jeff Kim at the Ultimate Dental Studio in Port Orange, FL. Call the office at (386) 322-4867 today.