At Cherry Bay Dental, we work diligently to prevent gum disease in our patients. This is a condition that is incredibly common, and most adults will suffer from some form of gum disease during their lifetime. The challenge is that this condition can lead to bone and tooth loss, making it incredibly important to both prevent and treat it. If you live in Traverse City, MI or the 49686 area, we can examine your gum tissues and let you know if you are showing any signs of the condition, along with making recommendations for how you can prevent it. To schedule an appointment, call (231) 935-1948.
Causes of Gum Disease
There are several reasons that gum disease develops. The primary causes are plaque and tartar. If it becomes trapped in between your teeth and gums or under the gum tissue, it causes your gums to become irritated and swollen. Plaque is a problem that everyone deals with; however, it is the buildup under the gums that really causes issues. Additionally, there are other risk factors to consider like pregnancy, diabetes, and smoking, since they restrict blood flow to the gums, causing them to swell.
Ways to Prevent Gum Disease
We recommend doing what you can to prevent gum disease so you do not experience discomfort or additional health problems. One of the best ways to prevent this condition is to keep your teeth clean. At Cherry Bay Dental, we encourage our Traverse City patients to brush their teeth two to three times a day and to do so in a circular pattern, moving food particles and plaque away from the gums toward the center of the mouth. You also need to floss on a daily basis, and be sure to reach all the way down, rather than stopping at your gum line. Using an antiseptic mouthwash can also help kill lingering bacteria.
You also need to have your teeth cleaned at least twice per year. It is difficult to remove all of the plaque at home, and tartar is too hard to remove by brushing and flossing. We can remove both plaque and tartar in our 49686 dental office so your risk of gum disease is greatly reduced. Simultaneously, we recommend that you stop smoking, keep your blood sugar under control, and drink plenty of water, since this can also help improve your gum health.
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Common Signs of Gum Disease
Some of the most common signs of gum disease are:
- Red and swollen gums.
- Gums that bleed when brushing, flossing, or eating anything crunchy.
- Teeth that appear to be getting longer, since this is a sign of gum recession.
- Loose teeth.
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend that you call 231-935-1948 to schedule an examination with our dental office.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
There are several ways to treat gum disease, and what we recommend will be based on how far the condition has progressed. To start, we typically recommend that our Traverse City, MI patients have a standard teeth cleaning. If you are only at the beginning stages of the condition, that is likely all you will need to return your gums to good health. However, if the condition has progressed, you may need a 49686 dentist to provide you with the following:
- Periodontal infection therapy. This is a therapy where chemicals are used to slow the growth of gum disease. In this case, your Traverse City dentist may prescribe the use of an antiseptic mouth rinse, designed to reduce or fight gum disease. Used daily, it can work to kill bacteria.
- Scaling and Root Planing (Deep cleaning). Scaling and root planing is typically conducted over two appointments, depending on how many areas in your mouth have gum disease present. During scaling and root planing, either the dentist or hygienist will anesthetize your gums so that the hygienist is able to effectively and painlessly remove the tartar built up under your gums. Because this therapy aggressively removes build-up, there can be some discomfort in your gums after treatment, however most patients find that an over the counter pain reliever greatly reduces any discomfort. Some root sensitivity can occur after scaling and root planing, but will typically subside over time. Your dentist or hygienist can recommend treatments to help with any post-cleaning sensitivity.
- Gum grafts. If your gums have receded and too much of your teeth or roots are showing, a gum graft may be necessary to restore the gum tissue back around the teeth. Dr. Pfefferle can discuss your need for this procedure and can refer you to an appropriate gum specialist to perform grafting procedures. There are many methods to perform this, but regardless of which therapy the specialist uses, the gum tissue will typically be thicker than before the graft which helps prevent further recession. In best case scenarios, your gum specialist can restore the gum tissue height similar to where they were prior to you developing gum disease.
Why You Could Need a Bone Graft Following Severe Gum Disease
Severe gum disease can drastically and negatively impact your oral health. As gum disease progresses, your gums will swell and then begin to recede or pull away from your tooth structure. This is problematic because the more of your teeth and roots that are exposed, the more likely it is that bacteria will begin to attack them. Simultaneously, your jawbone can also be negatively impacted and begin to lose its density.
Once gum disease has progressed to a severe stage, a referral to a gum specialist is required. The specialist will evaluate the level of tissue and bone destruction and will determine what type of therapy is needed. If you do suffer from bone loss, you may need a bone grafting procedure. This is where synthetic bone is placed in the area where you experienced loss in order to encourage bone growth. This can be a necessary procedure when you have experienced enough bone loss to negatively impact the health and stability of your other teeth. However, if you identify signs of gum disease and treat it early, you are likely to prevent the need for this procedure.
Schedule an Examination With Our Traverse City Dental Office
If you suspect that you may have gum disease because your gums are red, swollen, or receding, call our 49686 dental office right away. At Cherry Bay Dental, we can examine you, let you know if gum disease is present, and make recommendations regarding how to treat it.
If you live in the Traverse City area, call (231) 935-1948 to schedule your dental exam so that you can remain in good dental health or receive treatment for a current condition.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2015
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2015
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2015
About our business, license, and website security
- Cherry Bay Dental was established in 2010
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- We serve patients from the following counties: Grand Traverse and Leelanau
- We serve patients from the following cities: Traverse City, Kingsley, Acme, Williamsburg, and Old Mission
- Michigan Board of Dentistry (License #2901020314). View License Information and Specifics
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