Preventative Dentistry

Periodontal Care

Gum Disease

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup the dentist will measure the depth of the shallow v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease. Our skilled and experience hygienist will use gentle and effective cleaning tools to remove the tartar and bacteria at the cleaning appointments to help prevent the progression or start of gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.

Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket. Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis

In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.

Periodontitis

In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Whereas healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place, infected gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.

Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

• Tobacco smoking or chewing

• System-wide diseases such as diabetes

• Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of antiepilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives

• Bridges that no longer fit properly

• Crooked teeth

• Fillings that have become defective

• Pregnancy

If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see the doctor immediately:

• Gums that bleed easily

• Red, swollen, tender gums

• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth

• Persistent bad breath or bad taste

• Pus between your teeth and gums

• Permanent teeth that are loose or separating

• Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

• Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Sealants

A sealant is a clear or white, acrylic-like material that bonds with the tooth to
help a shield out decay-causing bacteria from the chewing surfacing of the back teeth. They form a protective barrier covering the pits and fissures (depressions and grooves) to prevent cavities in hard to clean back teeth.

Sealants are beneficial in teeth with very deep groove on the biting surface. They are recommend for many cases but there are instances where sealants are not recommended. This includes for children with rampant decay and where there is already decay in the tooth. In these cases the sealants will actually make it more difficult to diagnose an occlusal cavity which may get unnecessarily larger due to difficulty with visually diagnosing the lesion. Your dentist will determine if sealants are right for your child.

Sports Guards

Custom sports guards are made out of a strong plastic material that is molded
over top of models made from your teeth. We highly recommend getting a sportguard if you are playing a high impact contact sport.

Bruxism Appliances

Parafunctional activity (grinding and clenching of teeth/jaws) is a very common

occurrence in individuals. It is important to have a bruxism guard made if you suspect you are grinding or it is diagnosed as needed by our dentist as it will prevent further damage to teeth and jaw joints.