Monthly Archives: December 2017

Understanding Periodontitis Disease

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Swollen and bleeding gums, if left untreated, can become a serious problem as you may enter the advanced stage of periodontal disease better known as periodontitis. Unlike gingivitis, which is the early stage of periodontal disease and seldom painful, periodontal disease is a painful inflammatory gum infection that can destroy the soft tissue and bone structure, resulting into tooth decay and loss.

But the destructive capability of this gum infection doesn’t end here. It goes beyond opening gateway to more severe health problems like increased risk to cardiac attack, strokes and high blood sugar level.

Periodontitis—What Causes it?

Periodontitis is primarily the result of poor oral hygiene which triggers the periodontal bacteria that is naturally present in our mouth to get into action. Poor oral hygiene provides periodontal bacteria the ideal condition to grow in number and eventually become harmful. The ideal conditions for periodontal bacteria are created when the layer of plaque starts to build up on your gums because of the leftover particles of food and drinks in the mouth that you consume daily.

If this layer is not removed through brushing, the bacteria deposit minerals in the plaque with time. It hardens into tartar. Tartar serves as the breeding ground for bacterial growth, helping bacteria to thrive and multiply.

The harmful by-products of bacterial growth stimulate your body’s natural defensive inflammatory response. This causes gum inflammation and swelling which creates gaps or pockets between gums and teeth. If left unchecked, these pockets begin to fill with tartar and plaque. The swelling in the soft tissue traps plaque in the gaps which damages the tissues and bone that surrounds the tooth and eventually results in tooth loss.

Alarming Signs of Periodontitis 

Signs that indicate that you might have periodontitis include:

  • Gum inflammation
  • Bright red or purple gums
  • Your gums hurt when you touch them
  • Receding gums—your teeth begin to look longer
  • Spaces and gaps between your teeth
  • Pus may develop between your gums and teeth
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • It feels different than the usual when you bite your food

Factors that Can Put You at Risk for Periodontitis 

Besides poor dental care, other factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition include frequent tobacco use, hormonal changes, medications that reduce saliva, genetics, AIDS, and diabetes. Studies show that the risk of periodontitis is high in females, especially during pregnancy, puberty and post-menopause due to hormonal changes.

Complications of Periodontitis 

Failure to seek immediate treatment for periodontitis can expose you to numerous medical conditions such as:

Cardiac Problems

Having long term gum infection can increase your risk of strokes and heart attacks. Research shows that the periodontal bacteria have the tendency to travel through the bloodstream and into the arteries. It causes the narrowing of arteries and triggers inflammation that leads to heart attack. Besides this, it can also develop blood clots which increase the chances of experiencing a stroke.

Complications during Pregnancy 

Pregnant women suffering from periodontitis are more likely to have premature babies as compared to women who have healthy gums. It is believed that periodontitis limits fetal growth inside the womb and produces high levels of substances that induce labor.

Pneumonia 

Those people who already have lung problems and are suffering from periodontitis can become victims of pneumonia. Periodontal bacteria, when inhaled from the mouth into the lungs, can cause pneumonia.

Increased Blood Sugar Level

Though diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing periodontal diseases, the gum infection can further aggravate this problem by shooting up your blood sugar level which is harder to control.

Treatment

Treatment for periodontitis must be sought right away. In general, treatment for this infection is performed using a combination of medication and non-invasive therapies like scaling and root planning. However, if you have more advanced periodontitis, your dentist may advice you soft tissue grafting, bone grafting or a flap surgery.

Please call (208) 342-0315 to schedule an appointment today with our experienced periodontist, so that our periodontist can examine your mouth and determine the right treatment for your case.

All You Need To Know About Gingivitis

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Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? Are they swollen and red? Chances are that you might have gingivitis. Gingivitis is the initial stage of a periodontal disease. It is important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist right away for treatment because if left untreated, gingivitis can gradually transform into a serious gum disease known as periodontitis and result into gum decay and tooth loss. And that is definitely something you don’t want.

To help you develop a better understanding, here’s all that you need to about gingivitis.

Gingivitis—What causes it?

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that is characterized by gum inflammation. The leading cause is poor oral hygiene. When you don’t follow a good dental hygiene routine, it builds up plaque on your gums. Plaque is a colorless, unpleasant and sticky film of bacteria. It is a combination of the leftover particles of food and drinks that are consumed daily.

Overtime, plaque hardens and changes into tartar. Tartar is the breeding ground for infections and may lead to serious dental problems. It is extremely hard to remove tartar with the toothbrush. It acts like a protective shield for bacteria, causing irritation and inflammation in the gums.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis causes redness, irritation and inflammation of the gingiva. Gingiva is the part of the gum surrounding the base of the tooth. Healthy gums are pale pink and firm. However, if you have gingivitis, they may become puffy and swollen due to inflammation. Other classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Dark or dusky red gums
  • Bleeding of the gums when brushing or flossing
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums

Besides these signs, gum disease can also be spotted if you start to notice that your teeth have an elongated appearance or there are pockets between the gums and teeth. This is where the food debris collects and plaque builds up.

Risk Factors of Gingivitis 

Gingivitis is a gum disease that can happen to anyone including children and adults. However, factors that increase the risk of developing this oral condition include the following:

  • Poor dental care regime
  • Older age
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Genetics
  • Medical conditions like fungal or viral infections
  • Use of certain drugs like Phenytoin and birth control pills
  • Use of calcium-channel blockers
  • Hormonal changes related to menstrual cycle and pregnancy
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Poor dental restorations that don’t properly fit
  • Crooked teeth that may cause brushing difficult
  • Health conditions that lower immunity like HIV, AIDS, leukaemia, and cancer treatment

Prevention and Treatment 

The good news is that gingivitis is treatable and reversible. This means that you can easily overcome this dental problem and prevent it from occurring. However, for this, good and regular oral hygiene is a must.

  • Proper Brushing with Flossing

To remove plaque, you must brush properly for at least two minutes twice daily—particularly when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. If you can brush your teeth after meals, it is even better. After brushing, make sure to floss. Flossing at least once every day is vital for oral health. Flossing helps remove the loosened particles of food and bacteria.

  • Follow Good Health Practices 

By following good health practices like eating right and including Vitamin C in your diet, you can prevent gingivitis. Furthermore, avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.

  • Schedule Regular Checkups with Your Periodontist 

It is important to schedule an appointment for dental checkup with your periodontist every 6 to 12 months. The dentist can examine your oral condition, clean up tartar and identify any problem before it transforms into a serious dental condition.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gingivitis stated above, please call on (208) 342-0315 to schedule an appointment today with our experienced periodontists.