March 25, 2016
An individual’s gums help support and anchor his teeth. Normally, gums are pink, intact and form a turtleneck-like collar around your teeth and supporting bone. When gum disease invades this soft tissue, infection and inflammation result–leading to tooth loss and systemic health issues.
The causes of gum disease
Typically, gum disease in the Bowie area and across the nation is caused by the build-up of biofilm at and beneath the gum line. This biofilm, known as plaque, forms from the sugary and starchy foods we eat. When not removed by daily flossing and brushing, plaque hardens into a rock-like substance called tartar. Regular 6-month hygienic cleanings at Ambiance Dental Spa removes biofilm that at-home oral hygiene misses.
The biggest cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. However, other factors play into this concerning dental condition:
- immunosuppressive conditions such as HIV
- prescription medications such as some antidepressants, contraceptives and cardiac drugs
Types of gum disease
Gum disease occurs in varying degrees and types. Drs. Hightower and Valiulla at Ambiance Dental Spa detect gum disease by visual inspection and by measuring gum pockets–the space between gum tissue and tooth surfaces. Measurements of 1 to 3 mm are normal. Measurements of 4 mm and greater concern dentists.
These are the types of gum disease the team at Ambiance Dental Spa may see:
Gingivitis This is the mildest form of gum disease. Reversible with good at-home oral hygiene and routine cleanings at Ambiance Dental Spa, gingivitis presents with bleeding, sensitive, reddened and swollen gums. Patients frequently see blood in the sink when they brush.
Periodontitis This more serious form of gum disease invades the soft tissue below the gumline. Inflammation, pockets deeper than 3 mm and decreased gum and bone tissue accompany periodontitis.
Aggressive periodontitis progresses to noticeable detachment of the gums from tooth and root surfaces.
Chronic periodontitis involves slow detachment of the gums and inflammation of the soft tissue. Bone loss is noticeable and measurable.
Necrotizing periodontitis is the most destructive form of gum disease. It occurs in people with other serious health problems such as HIV or malnutrition.
The more serious forms of gum disease threaten overall health. As oral bacteria spreads from infected gum tissue throughout the body, physicians see dangerous health problems such as:
- heart disease
- pregnancy complications
Treating gum disease
Dr. Claire Hightower and Dr. Yumna Valiulla at Ambiance Dental Spa maintain that the best defense against gum disease is preventive dental care. However, if gum disease occurs, damage may be treated by scaling and root planing at Ambiance Dental Spa.
A skilled hygienist gently debrides infected gums and tooth surfaces with manual instruments. She smooths root surfaces (root planing) so gums re-attach. Sometimes, treatment includes antibiotics at the gum line to heal and disinfect.
Schedule a check-up
To ensure good dental and gum health, come to Ambiance Dental Spa every 6 months for a comprehensive oral exam and hygienic cleaning. Contact the office for your convenient appointment today.
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