Gum Disease

Gum Disease or Gun Inflammation (Gingivitis) causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis can easily be treated before it advances into something more serious. Request an appointment to schedule your cleaning.

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which gradually leads to the destruction of the support of your natural teeth. This disease affects more than 80% of Americans by the age of 45.

Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria found in plaque produce enzymes and toxins which injure the gums. Injured gums turn red, swell and bleed easily.

If this injury is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form.

Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (tartar).

This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds the teeth in place deteriorate.

If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Pain is usually not present until damage from this disease is very advanced.

Healthy Gums

Healthy gums are generally pink and anchor the teeth firmly in place. Healthy gums do not bleed or hurt during normal brushing and flossing.

Early forms of gum disease can easily be treated and reversed with daily brushing and flossing and dental checkups every 6 months. Gary Ackerman, DDS can get you on your way to healthy gums. All you need to do is call (916) 458-5570 or request an appointment online and come in for a visit. Your gums will be glad you did!

Periodontal Health Effects

Studies have shown links between periodontal (gum) disease, heart disease and other health conditions.

Research further suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk for heart disease, more so than hypertension, smoking, cholesterol, gender or age.

Researcher's conclusions suggest that bacteria present in infected gums can become loose and move throughout the body through the bloodstream. Once bacteria reaches the arteries, they can irritate them in the same way that they irritate gum tissue causing arterial plaque, which can cause hardening and affect blood-flow.

Sensitivity

Suppress the urge to avoid cleaning teeth that are sensitive to cold! Teeth that have suffered damage from gum disease will always be more sensitive to cold. Avoiding them only makes it worse.

After any dental treatment, teeth may become sensitive. This is their way of letting you know that they've been injured. Any injury (cavity, tooth clenching/grinding, gum infection) can injure the nerves in a tooth. This should not last long if the teeth are kept clean. If the teeth are not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain or get worse.

If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your dentist. This could be a sign of the need for root canal treatment, a gum tissue graft, a desensitizing toothpaste (with potassium nitrate), or a concentrated fluoride gel (0.4% stannous- or 1.1% sodium-fluoride) may do the trick.

Stages Of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis develops as toxins, enzymes and other plaque byproducts by irritating the gums, making them tender, swollen and likely to bleed easily. Gingivitis generally can be stopped with proper oral hygiene and minor treatment from your dentist. If this is achieved, your gums can return to a healthy state.

Periodontitis

Moderate gum disease is when the tooth's bone tissue starts to deteriorate. Periodontitis occurs when plaque byproducts destroy the tissues that anchor your teeth in the bone. The gums deteriorate and begin detaching themselves from the teeth forming gum pockets, which allows more plaque to collect below the gum line. This causes the roots of the teeth to become susceptible to decay. Generally, patients notice an increase in sensitivity to hot and cold and to touch.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis occurs when a major amount of gum and bone tissue has been lost and the teeth are losing more and more support due to the loss of periodontal ligament and bone. Some teeth are unable to be saved and must be extracted. If left untreated, advanced periodontitis can cause severe health problems elsewhere in the body.

Referral to a Specialist

If you have ever been treated for active gum disease you will need to continue your professional cleanings more regularly to keep the gum disease under control. This is called a periodontal maintenance cleaning. The difference between a prophylaxis cleaning and a periodontal cleaning is that they are needed more frequently than a prophylaxis cleaning and the hygienist performs additional procedures than during a preventative cleaning.

When you visit the dentist for a preventative cleaning the hygienist will clean above your gumline, floss and polish your teeth. When you have had a history of periodontal therapy or scaling and root planing the hygienist must go below the gumline in order to remove all the tartar from the root surface. They will also measure your pocket depth to make sure your periodontal disease isn’t continuing to get worse and you are able to maintain what is already in existence. Once this is completed, they will floss and polish your teeth. This type of cleaning is then referred to as Periodontal Maintenance and is typically performed three to four times per year vs your prophylaxis cleaning that is done twice a year.