Preventing and Diagnosing Gum Disease
According to the CDC, nearly half of Americans 30 years or older (approximately, 64.7 million) have periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. The significant number isn’t the only aspect alarming. It is also the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. As a periodontist, Dr. Ravon specializes in the health of gums. One of his main focuses as a dentist is helping his patients prevent gum disease from forming in the first place.
If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, suspect you have gum disease or want to learn how to take better care of your gum health, contact Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD in Beverly Hills to schedule an appointment. Please call (310) 275-5325 or email us today for an appointment.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection that occurs in your gums. It is the result of untreated bacterial growth in the mouth. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to the destruction of the tissue that holds your teeth in place and tooth loss. There are several different stages.
Although gingivitis isn’t technically considered gum disease, it usually precedes it. During this stage, the gums become swollen, inflamed, or irritated. The space between the teeth and gums becomes deeper and begins to form a pocket. The gums might look red or start to bleed when brushing or flossing. Without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
Once the inflammation and infection spread to the bone that supports the teeth, the condition is known as periodontitis. At this point, the gums will start to shrink and recede away from the teeth. The pockets formed between the teeth will become deeper and more difficult to clean. Swelling, redness, and bleeding will continue to develop or become worse. Once the infection begins to destroy the bone, the teeth will start to feel loose.
After periodontitis continues to advance, the deep pockets begin to fill with pus. The gums also begin to swell around the teeth and bone loss continues. At this point, the teeth will become sensitive to temperature changes or when brushing or flossing. The teeth also become looser. During this stage, teeth might need an extraction to prevent the disease from spreading.
Most patients don’t know they have gum disease until they visit their dentist for their routine dental cleaning and exam. As part of every routine dental exam, your dentist will examine your gums for signs of inflammation. They will also use a probe to measure the pockets surrounding the teeth. A healthy mouth has pockets that are between 1 and 3 millimeters. The diagnosis will also include a discussion about your medical history and if any risk factors such as diabetes or smoking apply to you. Lastly, your dentist will take x-rays to see if there’s any bone loss. If you become diagnosed with gum disease, a periodontist like Dr. Ravon will treat you.
The best way to prevent gum disease from progressing is by recognizing symptoms when they occur. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to visit a periodontist in Beverly Hills to save your teeth.
- Bad breath
- Swollen or red gums
- Tender, bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose or separating teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
- Change in bite
Gum Disease Treatment
Your specific gum disease treatment will depend on which stage of gum disease you have. If you only have gingivitis, you may only need a professional dental cleaning and a consistent at-home care routine to remove the infection from your mouth. Our treatment options include:
- Scaling and Root Planing
- Gum/Tissue Grafts
- Osseous Surgery
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
- Crown Lengthening
- Dental Implant Placement
- Guided Bone Regeneration
- Sinus Augmentation
- Extractions/Ridge Preservation
- Microsurgical Techniques
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Although some people are more susceptible than others due to genetics or health conditions, there are still a lot of actions you can take to prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place.
Brush and Floss – Brushing at least twice and flossing at least once a day helps remove debris from the mouth and plaque trapped between teeth and gum line. It’s also important to brush the tongue to remove bacteria.
Use Mouthwash – Mouthwash can reduce plaque and help remove any remaining debris missed when brushing or flossing.
Know Your Risk – The risk for periodontitis increases with age, diet, genetics, and actions like smoking. Learn if you’re a high risk and take additional protective measures for prevention.
Visit the Dentist – It’s important to visit the dentist for professional cleanings twice per year. Professional cleanings help remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and beneath the gum line that may result in gum disease. Your dentist will also identify early signs so you can take interceptive measures to prevent the disease from progressing.
Visit Your Beverly Hills Periodontist for Gum Disease Treatment
If you have signs of gum disease, don’t let it go untreated. Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD in Beverly Hills is a periodontist who offers gum disease treatment to preserve your dental health. Contact our dental office to schedule an appointment. Call (310) 275-5325 or email us today!