Gum disease is incredibly common-in fact, it is estimated that over half of adults over the age of 30 in the United States have some form of the disease. However, even though it is common, that does not mean that it can be ignored. Early stage gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, can easily progress into more advanced periodontal disease, negatively affecting not just your oral health and leading to issues such as gum recession and tooth loss, but also your overall health and well-being. At Shadowridge Dental Group, we provide effective diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance options for Vista, San Marcos, Oceanside, Escondido, and all the rest of North San Diego County area patients suffering from all stages of gum disease.
Since gum disease often has no visible signs and is many times not painful it is often overlooked. That is why having a thorough exam to discover if gum disease is present is so important. In our office we start with a comprehensive initial examination to find if any level of gum disease exists. In addition, we continue to monitor and check gum health at your periodic hygiene visits. At these visits we are checking for any signs of periodontal (gum) infection or disease such as:
- Red, swollen, or inflamed gums
- Bleeding or pus in the gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
We also use a special dental instrument to check the space between your teeth and gums. As gum disease progresses, it tends to form “pockets,” or spaces between your teeth and gums that are filled with plaque and bacteria that erode your healthy tissues and can eventually lead to loose teeth, irreversible damage to the underlying ligaments and bone, and tooth loss.
Treatment for gum disease depends on how far it has progressed. Early gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, can often be treated with a commitment to a more rigorous brushing and flossing routine at home and coming in for more frequent hygiene recare visits. With this approach, many patients can reverse early stage gingivitis. However, the more advanced stages of gum disease are impossible to cure due to the permanent damage the disease causes. In those cases, one or more of the following treatment options might be recommended to help halt the disease progression:
- Deep periodontal cleaning (also known as “scaling and root planing”) to clean beneath the gum line and remove the plaque, tartar, and bacteria that have built up in the periodontal pockets; “scaling” refers to the cleaning and “root planing” refers to the smoothing of the tooth root that is done to help your gums and teeth form a healthy seal again
- Antibacterial mouth washes can be used at home as an adjunct to your healthy brushing and flossing regimen
- Oral antibiotics or topical gels might also be necessary to help curb the infection
- In severe cases, periodontal surgery may be required to remove the diseased gum tissue, which may be followed with restorative treatments such as gum grafting or tooth restorations to rebuild the damaged tissue and restore the healthy shape and function of your teeth
After your initial gum disease treatment, lifelong maintenance of healthy oral hygiene and regular follow up with the hygienist and the dentist will be necessary to maintain your results. The doctors and hygienists at the Shadowridge Dental Group work with each individual patient to determine the best oral hygiene recare schedule for their specific needs.
The earlier that you treat gum disease, the easier it is to reverse and the less time you need to spend in the dental chair! To schedule an exam at Shadowridge Dental Group, call us in Vista, CA today at (760) 284-8111. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile!