Posts for tag: Gum Disease

By Smart Family Dental Care
November 10, 2018
Category: Oral Health
GetaDentalExamasSoonasPossibleifyouSuspectGumDisease

If you suspect you have periodontal (gum) disease, it's important to get a correct diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you begin treatment the better the long-term outcome.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that's most often triggered by plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces. Plaque buildup most often occurs when a person doesn't practice effective oral hygiene: daily brushing and flossing and professional cleanings at least twice a year.

The most common type of gum disease, gingivitis, can begin within days of not brushing and flossing. It won't always show itself, but you can have symptoms like swollen, red or bleeding gums, as well as bad taste and breath. You could also develop painful abscesses, which are localized pockets of infection within the gums.

If we don't stop the disease it will eventually weaken the gum attachment to the teeth, bone loss will occur and form deep pockets of infection between the teeth and bone. There's only one way to stop it: remove the offending plaque from all tooth surfaces, particularly below the gum line.

We usually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) manually with special hand instruments called scalers. If the plaque and calculus have extended deeper, we may need to perform another procedure called root planing in which we shave or “plane” the plaque and calculus (tartar) from the root surfaces.

In many cases of early gum disease, your family dentist can perform plaque removal. If, however, your gum disease is more extensive, they may refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in the treatment and care of gums. Periodontists are trained and experienced in treating a full range of gum infections with advanced techniques, including gum surgery.

You can also see a periodontist on your own for treatment or for a second opinion — you don't necessarily need a referral order. If you have a systemic disease like diabetes it's highly advisable you see a periodontist first if you suspect gum disease.

If you think you might have gum disease, don't wait: the longer you do the more advanced and destructive the disease can become. Getting an early start on treatment is the best way to keep the treatment simple and keep gum disease from causing major harm to your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on the diagnosis and treatment of 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 “When to See a Periodontist.”

By Smart Family Dental Care
October 11, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   Gum Disease  
InflammationtheLinkBetweenGumDiseaseandCardiovascularDisease

Cardiovascular disease and periodontal (gum) disease are two different conditions with their own set of symptoms and outcomes. But they do share one common element: inflammation. In fact, this otherwise normal defensive response of the body might actually create a link between them.

When tissues become damaged from disease or injury, the body triggers inflammation to isolate them from the rest of the body. This allows these tissues to heal without affecting other tissues. If inflammation becomes chronic, however, it can damage rather than protect the body.

This happens with both cardiovascular disease and gum disease. In the former, low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad cholesterol”) in animal fat leave behind remnants that can build up within arteries. This stimulates inflammation of the vessel’s inner linings, which accelerates hardening and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

With gum disease, bacteria living in a thin, built-up film of food particles on the teeth called plaque infect the gum tissues, which in turn trigger inflammation. A struggle ensures between the infection and inflammation, causing the gum tissues to weaken and detach from the teeth. Coupled with erosion of the supporting bone, the risk of tooth loss dramatically increases.

Recent research now seems to indicate the inflammatory responses from these two diseases may not occur in isolation. There is evidence that gum inflammation could aggravate inflammation in the cardiovascular system, and vice-versa. The research, though, points to some possible good news: treating inflammation in either disease could have a positive effect on the other.

Making heart-friendly lifestyle changes like losing extra weight (especially around the waist), improving nutrition, and exercising regularly can help reduce LDL and lower the risk of arterial inflammation. Likewise for your gums, daily oral hygiene and visiting the dentist at least twice a year reduces the risk for gum disease. And at the first sign of a gum infection—swollen, reddened or bleeding gums—seeking immediate treatment will stop it and reduce any occurring inflammation.

Taking steps to prevent or reduce inflammation brought on by both of these diseases could improve your health and save your life.

If you would like more information on how your oral health affects your whole body, 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 “The Link between Heart & Gum Disease.”

By Smart Family Dental Care
July 13, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   Gum Disease  
WellHelpYouMaintainYourOralHealthAfterGumDisease

It’s been a long road back to oral health for you after periodontal (gum) disease. But after several plaque removal sessions and perhaps even surgical procedures to address deep infection, your gums have regained their healthy pink appearance.

But now you must face a hard reality: because you’ve had gum disease you’ll need to be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene to avoid another round with this destructive disease. But don’t worry—you won’t have to fight your prevention battle alone. We’ll continue to provide you care that reduces your risk of re-infection. We call that care periodontal maintenance (PM).

The heart of PM care involves regular dental visits for monitoring, cleanings and treatment when necessary. While most patients may visit their dentist at least twice a year, as a previous gum disease patient we may advise more frequent visits, especially if you’ve just finished periodontal treatment. Depending on the extent of your disease, we may begin with a visit every other week or once every two to three months. If your mouth continues to be disease-free we may suggest increasing the time between visits.

During your visit we’ll carefully examine your mouth, as well as screen you for any signs of potential oral cancer. We’re looking for both signs of re-infection or new issues with your teeth and gums. We’ll also assess the effectiveness of your oral hygiene efforts and advise you on ways you can improve.

If we find any signs of disease, we’ll then formulate a treatment plan to effectively deal with it. With frequent visits we have a better chance of discovering re-infection early—and the earlier the better to minimize any further damage. We may also need to take steps to make future PM care easier. This could include gum surgery to alter the tissues around certain teeth for easier access for examination and cleaning.

Our main focus with PM care is to look ahead: what can we do now to prevent a future bout of gum disease or at least lessen its effect? With continued monitoring and care we can drastically reduce your risk for further damage from this destructive disease.

If you would like more information on post-gum disease maintenance, 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 “Periodontal Cleanings.”

By Smart Family Dental Care
February 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Gum Disease   periodontics  

Even with better technology and treatment options than ever, over 64 million American adults (roughly 47 percent of the population) gum diseasesuffer from some degree of gum disease, according to a study by the American Academy of Periodontology. Gum disease is a progressive inflammatory disorder that typically starts out in the form of mild gingivitis, where the gums might appear bright red and bleed during brushing and flossing. If left untreated, full-blown periodontitis can not only lead to tooth loss, but has also been linked to serious health problems like diabetes, cardiac disease and stroke.

Dr. Orson Baek, a general dentist and periodontist at Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, GA, advises all patients to adhere to the American Academy of Periodontology's recommendation to schedule a dental exam and professional cleaning every year to monitor current oral health, and to catch gum disease before it can progress and cause serious damage.

Gum Disease Diagnosis and Treatment in Norcross, GA

As with most health problems, the best way to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums is through prevention. Dr. Baek recommends starting with a good daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing, flossing and limiting overconsumption of sugary snacks and drinks. Taking the time to visit the dentist before something is wrong is another important step in gum disease prevention and treatment.

The most common signs and symptoms of gum disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology are:

  • Redness, swelling and gum tenderness
  • Gum recession
  • Bleeding from the gums during brushing, flossing or eating
  • Sores or pus between the teeth and gums
  • Changes in bite patterns and tooth alignment
  • Spacing or loose teeth

Find a Dentist in Norcross, GA

Taking control of your oral health and general wellness is as easy as paying a routine visit to the dentist. For more information on how to prevent and recognize the early signs of gum disease and to learn your individual risk factors, contact Smart Family Dental Care by calling (770) 446-5700 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Baek today.

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 25, 2016
Category: Oral Health

There are several possible causes for bumps, lumps and growths on the gums. This includes canker sores, an abscess or infection. In oral healthrarer cases, a sore or growth on the gums can be a sign of oral cancer. In order to rule out potentially serious oral health problems, Dr. Orson Baek, a dentist at Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, GA recommends getting lumps or growths on the gums or tongue evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible to obtain an accurate and timely diagnosis.

Oral Health and Cancer Screenings in Norcross, GA

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular oral exams (approximately every six months) to screen for tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Although oral cancer is generally rare, monitoring changes to the teeth and gums is a necessary step in preventing gum disease. Some of the most common sources of bumps or sores on the gums include:

  • Infection/abscess
  • Cysts
  • Canker sores
  • Pyogenic granuloma/granuloma gravidarum (product of hormonal fluctuations typical during pregnancy)
  • Thrush (candidiasis)

When is it Time to Call a Dentist?

Generally, symptoms like pain, rashes, lumps, or sores that do not resolve on their own after a few days (7-10 on average) should be examined by your Norcross dentist. Signs of infection, like pus, discharge, or an abscess should be treated by a dentist right away. While some oral health problems and symptoms are unavoidable, practicing good oral hygiene with daily flossing and regular dental visits, and eating a healthy diet and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are the best way to protect the teeth and gums from decay and periodontal disease.

Find a Dentist in Norcross, GA

Regular dental exams and screenings are necessary to help diagnose oral health problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer in the early stages, when they are most treatable. Contact Smart Family Dental Care by calling (770) 446-5700 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Orson Baek today.