Posts for tag: periodontal disease

By Smart Family Dental Care
July 10, 2019
Category: Oral Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all American adults suffer from some form of periodontal (gum) disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease causes a number of oral health problems and may ultimately result in tooth loss. Despite the fact that the overall rates of periodontal disease have dropped in the last few decades, it is still the leading cause of tooth loss according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The good news is that gum disease is preventable, and when caught early enough it can be treated before you experience permanent tissue damage or tooth loss. Dr. Orson Baek, a dentist in Norcross, GA, offers a number of general and cosmetic dentistry services to improve your smile and oral health.

Periodontal Disease Prevention and Treatment in Norcross, GA

There are a few stages of gum disease. The first stage is gingivitis, which is responsible for gum sensitivity and bleeding when you brush your teeth. Gingivitis can be treated with a deep professional dental cleaning and good oral hygiene habits, particularly brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.

Preventive dental care is also an important tool in the fight against periodontal disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling an appointment every six months for a check up and professional cleaning.

If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, which leads to the formation of pockets between the teeth and gums that traps food and ultimately bacteria. At this stage the damage to the connective tissue and fibers is irreversible, but you can still get treatment to prevent further damage.

Advanced periodontitis is the most aggressive and late stage of gum disease where the soft tissue and bone are destroyed. Advanced periodontitis can cause gum recession, loose teeth, changes to your bite and alignment, and ultimately tooth loss.

How to Protect Yourself from Gum Disease

Prevention is your best defense against gum disease and tooth loss. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • avoid tobacco
  • drink alcohol in moderation
  • brush after every meal and floss at least once a day (pro tip: it doesn't matter what time of day you floss, so if it's easier to get it done in the morning you can make that a part of your routine)
  • go to the dentist every six months for a check up and cleaning

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • bleeding gums
  • gum recession
  • bad breath
  • signs of infection around a tooth
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • loose teeth

Find a Dentist in Norcross, GA

For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact Smart Family Dental Care by calling (770) 446-5700 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Baek today.

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

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
February 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health

It takes only a short time neglecting your oral hygiene before you begin to notice some unpleasant things with your gums: swelling, redness or even bleeding. These are all signs of gingivitis, a periodontal (gum) disease that arises from bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces when a person doesn't brush or floss.

Fortunately, early stages of gingivitis can be treated effectively with comprehensive plaque removal during one or more office visits. If, however, it's not dealt with early, it can develop into something much more serious: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This form does more than leave you with unattractive teeth and gums and terrible breath — it could eventually cause you to lose your teeth.

ANUG is also known as trench mouth, a common ailment among front line World War I soldiers without access to proper dental care and hygiene. It's most prevalent today among individuals who are under a great deal of stress, not sleeping or eating well and haven't cleaned or properly cared for their teeth for an extended period of time. Tobacco smokers also seem more susceptible than non-smokers to the disease, perhaps because smoke dries the mouth and changes the bacterial environment.

Unlike common gingivitis, ANUG can be quite painful. In effect, the gum tissues begin to die (necrotize), especially the triangular peaks between teeth known as papillae. Besides the other symptoms of gingivitis, the tissues may become yellowish.

ANUG can be treated effectively. The first step is to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation through medication. The focus then shifts to treating the underlying cause, bacterial plaque. Besides plaque removal common in any treatment for gum disease, we may also need to initiate antibiotic therapy. Metronidazole is a common antibiotic that's been demonstrated effective against the specific bacterial strain associated with ANUG. We might also combine this with an antibacterial mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine.

The final step belongs to you: to keep ANUG or any other gum disease from reoccurring, it's important for you to adopt a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits for thorough teeth cleaning and checkups. Taking this proactive approach will help ensure you won't suffer from this painful and unattractive form of gingivitis again.

If you would like more information on acute gingivitis, 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 “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”