At this time, masks, distancing, and screening for COVID-19 will continue to be required at our office, even for people who have been fully vaccinated. As a Dental Office with vulnerable patients, we're continuing these requirements in alignment with recommendations from the CDC and public health authorities. Our top priority is the safety of our patients, staff, and community.
CHRISTOPHER M. LIM, DDS
ROBIN G. SAUNDERS, DDS
Every year, gum disease destroys perfectly healthy teeth. Also known as periodontal disease, this attack on the gums by oral bacteria is extremely preventable. In addition to personal oral hygiene, patients need to regularly visit their Chico Dentists at Yellowstone Family Dentistry for convenient and comfortable dental care to avoid gum disease.
Side Effects of Gum Disease
If the gums have started to recede because of periodontitis, the following are potential consequences:
Halitosis, commonly experienced as bad breath, from plaque and bacteria deposits
Bone loss in the jaws
Loss of teeth as gums recede
Higher risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke
Potential complications for diabetics
Potential complications for pregnant women.
Gum disease should be cured immediately with the latest techniques in cleaning and medication. Read this section for more information on how Yellowstone Family Dentistry treats periodontal problems.
Gum Disease Description
Officially called periodontal disease, gum disease is usually found during your oral examination. Since early stages of the problem usually cause little or no pain, many patients ignore this inflammation of the gums. Nevertheless, it is a serious matter, potentially leading to loss of teeth! Additional studies indicate that unchecked gum disease may lead to a higher incidence of stroke, heart attack or premature birth. These studies show what dentists have long believed: oral health is connected to your overall health.
Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar created by oral bacteria. If left unchecked, either by a lack of daily dental care, regular visits to your dentist, or both, tartar works its way beneath the gums. This irritates the tissue, leading to reddened and bleeding gums. If your gums bleed during flossing or brushing, this is not normal. You have some form of gum disease, either gingivitis or periodontitis.
At this stage, the pockets formed around the teeth by the gums are starting to expand due to inflammation of the tissues. With a tiny dental probe, your dentist carefully determines the size of the sulcus, or space, between each tooth and the gum tissue. Ideally, our dentists will find a depth of three millimeters or less. When the sulcus is greater than three millimeters, plaque has created space for irritation, infection, and further complications. Bone loss from the sockets has not yet begun.
When the disease has advanced to periodontitis, space between the teeth and gums is excessive, due to prolonged exposure to plaque and tartar. The gums bleed easily. Bone loss is present. Specialized treatment may be avoidable with prompt treatment of the problem.
Bone loss is moderate to severe at this stage. Gaps between the teeth and gums have allowed bacteria to work their way up to the socket and root. The root is loosened from the bone by the advancement of the disease. Left untreated, teeth will be lost. Laser treatments to reduce large periodontal pockets or oral gum surgery may be necessary.
Gum Disease Treatment
If you are in the earliest stage, gingivitis, a higher frequency of ordinary dental cleanings may be sufficient. By removing tartar before it has a chance to work deep beneath the gums, and through vigilant home care, the gaps between gum and tooth can be lessened by the dentists at Yellowstone Family Dentistry.
Gum Disease Prevention
Careful attention to twice daily brushing and a minimum routine of once daily flossing helps prevent the growth of tartar and plaque below the gums. Nevertheless, even the most attentive patient finds that some plaque escapes their hygiene efforts. If you are experiencing gum disease, our Chico dentists usually recommend additional cleanings every year, typically increasing to four annually, to help you eliminate the problematic tartar that causes gingivitis. When your gums become healthy again, you return to a regular cleaning schedule..