Want to Improve the Look of Your Smile? Here’s What You Need to Consider First.
Want to improve the look of your smile?
Unfortunately, periodontal disease is a major roadblock to getting the smile of your dreams.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common oral health issue that affects many people.
Mild gum disease is easily treated.
However, it can progress into a serious issue with long-term, irreversible health consequences if left unchecked.
If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure, such as teeth whitening or porcelain veneers, we must first address the underlying gum disease. A healthy mouth is critical to creating a solid foundation for your cosmetic treatments.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Signs and symptoms of gum disease
- The link between gum disease and other serious health issues
- Gum disease treatment
Gum disease: signs and symptoms
So how do you know if you have gum disease or other periodontal issues?
Here are a few symptoms that should never be ignored:
• Gums that bleed easily
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• Sensitivity and gum recession
• Pus that appears upon pressure to the gums
• Persistent bad breath or foul taste in the mouth
• Loose adult teeth
• Changes in your bite
If you’re experiencing any of these issues, don’t ignore it!
The longer you wait to address your gum disease, the harder it is to treat. Get to a trusted dentist as soon as possible.
Although bleeding gums or tender swollen gums are common symptoms of periodontal disease, it’s possible to have periodontal disease without any noticeable discomfort or symptoms.
That’s one of the many reasons it’s essential to get regular checkups at your dentist every six months. An experienced dentist spots gum disease signs before you’re even aware of it.
Am I at risk for gum disease?
While gum disease can affect anyone, you’re at higher risk if you:
• Smoke or use other tobacco products
• Have certain systemic diseases
• Take steroids, salivary flow inhibitors, or similar medications
• Take oral contraceptives and hormones
• Have crooked teeth which are difficult to floss
• Have improperly fit dental bridges
The link between periodontal disease and other serious health issues
The health of your mouth is a window into the health of your entire body.
That’s why dentists are often the first to notice signs that something’s wrong – periodontal disease is commonly linked to more serious health issues that affect your entire body, such as heart disease and stroke.
In fact, dentistry researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease and subsequent heart attacks as people who don’t have periodontal disease.
Why is this?
Oral bacteria doesn’t just stay in the mouth. It enters the bloodstream and travels to other parts of your body, contributing to clot formation.
The buildup of fatty proteins on the walls of the coronary arteries leads to coronary artery disease. Bacteria that originates in the mouth attaches at these sites and grows, further thickening the arteries. It also leads to inflammation, your body’s natural defense mechanism against harmful microorganisms.
These areas can form clots and restrict blood flow, starving the heart of oxygen and essential nutrients. Over time, the heart can malfunction and result in a heart attack.
This same thickening of arteries and inflammation can also contribute to stroke risk.
Patients at risk for these diseases may need more extensive treatment in addition to addressing their periodontal issues.
This is especially true if you’re hoping to pursue any complex dentistry procedures or cosmetic treatments.
Preventing and treating periodontal disease
Treatment of periodontal disease depends on the stage and how quickly it’s progressing.
In the early stages, the disease is highly treatable and possibly reversible. Your dentist will start with a deep cleaning to remove the bacteria buildup. A consistent checkup and hygiene schedule can keep the issue in check.
In more advanced gum disease stages, your dentist may need to perform scaling and root planing (PSRP). PSRP is a deeper cleaning treatment the removes stubborn plaque and tartar below the gumline.
You may also need medication to ensure that bacterial levels do not continue to build in your mouth. Your dentist may apply antibiotics directly to the cleaned areas of the gums to kill any residual bacteria.
Modern laser technology has made this process easier and less painful.
Lasers kill bacteria quickly and gently, removing any scar tissue within the periodontal pockets. They re-attach and seal the affected areas to prevent further accumulation.
In most cases, you won’t need anesthesia for laser treatments.
In very severe cases where the gums have receded, gum grafts may be necessary to cover the exposed roots.
Get gum disease treatment in Bellevue, WA
Once your gum disease is under control, you’ll be in a strong position to receive cosmetic treatments and get the gorgeous smile you’ve been dreaming of.
To prevent gum disease, practice daily oral health habits and get dental checkups every six months at a minimum.
Remember – if you’re experiencing any gum disease symptoms, get to a qualified dentist right away.
Our dental team in Bellevue, WA, takes a comprehensive dental care approach to keep your smile healthy for life.
Schedule an appointment with us today!
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This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.