When people think of dental care, they tend to focus on teeth and forget about the very important structures that hold those teeth in place – their gums! Periodontal care for your gums is just as crucial for excellent oral health as other treatments designed for teeth. Healthy gums protect your teeth from bacteria that can attack them beneath the gum line and also provide a strong support system.
Thanks to improvements in the way we provide dental care and an increased awareness of the problem of periodontal (gum) disease, the actual incidence of gum disease has decreased considerably since the 1970s. Unfortunately, it’s still a very prevalent problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50% of all adults over age 30 have periodontitis. That’s almost 65 million American adults. Are you one of them?
Preventing Gum Disease
With good oral health habits, we can prevent most gum disease from ever starting. Follow these five steps to help prevent gum disease from becoming a problem:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily, in the morning and evening.
- Floss your teeth once daily, in the evening.
- Keep up with your regular twice yearly examinations and cleanings.
- Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system.
- Don’t smoke. If you already do smoke, talk to Dr. Kim about quitting.
Detecting Gum Disease
In its earliest stages, gum disease can be asymptomatic, which means you might have it and not even know it. Common early symptoms include redness of the gums, tenderness, and bleeding when you brush your teeth. If you are experiencing any of these signs of gum disease, please call Dr. Kim’s office for a periodontal appointment. Often, simply improving your brushing and flossing habits and adding a medicated mouthwash will be enough to take care of gum disease at this stage.
As gum disease progresses, you may experience additional symptoms like pain, receding gums, and loose teeth. Your gums may also show visible signs of infection. In these later stages, you may need some extra care and treatment to resolve the gum disease and kill the infection.
Treating Gum Disease
At Jen Kim: Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we have the tools to treat gum disease, even when it has progressed past the beginning stages. Some of the treatments we can use include:
- Deep cleaning: Root scaling and planing is a common therapy for people with moderate gum disease. This treatment deep cleans your teeth beneath the gum line where bacteria and infection may be present.
- Antibiotic treatment: Often used in conjunction with deep cleaning, antibiotics may be placed into the pockets that form during gum disease to kill the infection at its source. You may also be prescribed oral antibiotics.
- Laser therapy: A newer form of periodontal therapy, laser therapy allows us to very precisely target and remove damaged tissue while killing the infection. We can also smooth out your root surface to make it harder for bacteria beneath the gum line to adhere to your teeth and cause problems.
Call today to schedule a periodontal appointment with Dr. Jen Kim in Kirkland, WA. We will perform a comprehensive and thorough examination and work with you to devise a treatment plan to meet your periodontal care goals.