1/14/2018 5:54:12 PM
Arianna Marsden, RDH
New Year’s Resolutions and Goals
It’s a shiny new year, and during this time people are making resolutions and setting goals for the year, so what better time to review proper techniques for dental hygiene! Most people are familiar with brushing and flossing, and make efforts to do at least one or the other regularly. Let’s talk about some of the “life hack” techniques that make your efforts more effective.
When brushing, make sure you’re using a toothbrush that has bristles which are soft or extra-soft. Using a toothbrush with medium, or hard bristles can cause unintended damage to the gums and teeth, specifically trauma-induced recession, and abrasion of the root surface. Some people find that when they switch to a softer toothbrush, their teeth don’t feel as clean. In these scenarios, using a powered toothbrush, such as an OralB Braun, or Philips Sonicare may be a good solution.
Powered toothbrushes with a rechargeable base have been shown to be more effective in reducing inflammation in the gums than a manual toothbrush, which can leave the teeth feeling more clean after brushing, but be careful not to use too much pressure, or you could damage the teeth and gums similarly to using a medium or hard bristle brush. Part of the reason powered toothbrushes may be more efficient, is that they often come with a timer built in! This makes it easier to remember to brush for the full two minutes twice daily. If you prefer to use a manual toothbrush, you can try setting a timer on your phone, or listening to a song that is two minutes long while you brush.
The other half of oral hygiene has to do with cleaning in between your teeth. The most common way to accomplish this, is by using string floss, and “flossing” once daily. To use string floss effectively, its important to wrap the floss around the tooth in the shape of the letter ‘C’. This allows you to clean underneath the gums, and not just in between the teeth. Most people find this traditional method of flossing challenging, or ineffective for a variety of reasons. If this applies to you, there are lots of other alternatives for cleaning between your teeth. You can try using “floss on a stick,” like the Plackers brand, for easier manipulation of the floss. You could also try Softpicks, which are like a toothpick with a soft rubber end. The Softpicks are used by squeezing them between the teeth to remove plaque. Water flossers, like the Waterpik, are another great alternative for cleaning between your teeth by using a controlled stream of water to remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth.
No matter which method you’re using for cleaning between your teeth, its ideal to do so at least once per day. If that is not an attainable or reasonable goal for you, cleaning between the teeth even a couple times a week is a great start!
A good tip for keeping yourself motivated towards your New Year’s resolutions and goals, is keeping track of your progress and rewarding yourself! You could try keeping a checklist on your calendar, or in your phone for the days you remember to do your brushing and interdental cleaning. Research has shown that if you can do a new practice for about two months, it becomes a habit, and something you won’t have to concentrate so hard on accomplishing. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you meet your goals for oral health! Happy 2018!
1/14/2018 5:41:36 PM
Ann Clark, RDH
There are a lot of dental options out there from General to specialists. The following is a break down of all your caped crusaders.
This is your primary care provider. They provide regular cleanings and check ups. This dentist can diagnose, treat and manage your overall dental needs, including gum care, fillings, root canals, implants, extractions, crowns, veneers, bridges and preventative education. These dentists have either a DDS, Doctor of Dental Surgery, or DMD, Doctor of Dental Medicine. There is no difference between the two degrees or the ciriculum requirements. It’s strictly how the schools award the degree. Dentists study 3 years or more of undergraduate school plus 4 additional years of dental school. Additional post-graduate training is needed to specialize.
This dentist is a specialist concerned with causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and injury of the dental pulp (the nerve of the tooth). This specialist can perform all types of root canal treatments and other surgical root procedures.
ORAL and MAXILLOFACIAL RADIOLOGIST-
This specialist focuses on taking and interpreting all X-ray images and data used to diagnose and manage disease, disorder and conditions to the oral and maxillofacial area. These dentist are usually associated with the schools.
This specialist studies the cause of diseases that alter or affect the oral structures ( jaw, teeth, tissues) and the face and neck. They examine and diagnose biopsy, tissue or lesions referred to them from other providers.
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON-
The doctors perform many types of surgical procedures on and in the entire face, including the jaw. They treat accident victims who suffer from injury and reconstruct and offer implant surgery. They also treat tumors and cysts in the jaw. They preform simple tooth extractions, complex extractions, impacted teeth (wisdom teeth), soft tissue biopsies, removal of tumors in the mouth, implant positioning, jaw realignment surgeries, involving facial or bite discrepancies, fractured cheek or jaw bone repair and soft tissue (cleft lip/palate- bone repair) surgeries. These specialists receive anywhere from 4-8 years of additional training after dental school.
This specialist focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusions or “bad bites” of the teeth and surrounding structures. Poor bites can result from crowding, missing or extra teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. They can straighten teeth by moving them through bone by use of braces, band, wires and other fixed or removable corrective appliances or retainer (invisalign).
This dentist specializes in the care of children from the age of 1 to early adulthood. They detect, treat, and diagnose problems with decay, missing or extra, and crowding. This dentist has at least 2 additional years of training after dental school. This training focuses on the management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry.
a Periodontist is the oral health care specialist who diagnoses, treats, and prevents disease of the soft tissues of the mouth and supporting structures (bone) of the teeth,including implants (gum doctor). They treat gingivitis (inflammation) and periodontal disease ( gum and bone). These doctors perform simple and deep pocket cleanings, crown lengthening, soft tissue and or bone grafting, gingival or flap surgeries, soft tissue recontouring or removal, hard tissue recontouring (osteoplasty), and implant placements.
These specialist provide services for the repair of natural teeth and/or replacement of missing teeth on a grander scale then a general dentist. They deal with artificial teeth (dentures), crowns to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are also involved in the replacement of teeth using implants. Specially trained prosthodontists work with patients with head and neck deformities, replacing missing areas of the facee and jaw with artificial substitutes.
American Dental Association: “Dental Specialties”
Michigan Dental Association: What Are the Dental Specialties?”
12/10/2017 3:00:20 PM
Wendy Parker, RDH
Many people believe that mouth breathing isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just the way they have learned to breathe. But after years of study and research, mouth breathing have been linked to several other conditions as well.
Mouth breathing usually occurs due to 5 factors:
- Thumb or finger sucking habit
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Respiratory infection
These factors make it physically challenging for someone to breath through their nose, so the natural reaction is to start breathing through their mouth. Mouth breathing can cause a few things to happen in the mouth: it can change the way your shape of your face, you can develop a tongue thrust affecting your speech, swallowing and breathing, you can develop gingivitis or gum disease and gums will bleed easily, sore throats, halitosis (bad breath), poor sleep or sleep apnea, and digestive disturbances (upset stomach, acid reflux, etc.) Mouth breathing stops our bodies from getting good oxygenated blood to the circulation system and can affect the whole body.
It’s not easy to just change the way you breathe. You have to retrain your brain and muscles to breathe normally again. A myofunctional therapist can be valuable by giving you tactics to retrain your muscles associated with mouth breathing. You can also have your tonsils evaluated to see if they need to be removed or see an orthodontist to evaluated your bite and if the teeth are obstructing you from closing properly. Or you may try a humidifier at night or rub vitamin E oil or vasoline over the gums before bedtime to help them from drying out.
Hopefully you can find some relief from this condition! If you need more tips or tricks, don’t be afraid to ask your lovely hygienist or dentist at your next appointment!
12/3/2017 3:00:51 PM
Andra Mahoney, BS RDH
Are you a grinder? You may be, and not even know it!
Do you ever wake up in the morning with sore teeth and jaws? You could be grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding is usually done unconsciously in your sleep, but it can also occur when you are awake. It is common to find people that clench or grind their teeth occasionally throughout their lives. However, chronic clenching and grinding can cause long term damage and problems with your teeth and mouth in general.
Why do people grind their teeth?
Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth (malocclusion/malalignment). It can also be caused by a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea.
How can you tell if you grind?
Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. Here are some common signs that you may be a grinder:
- Wake up with Headache/Sore Jaw or teeth
- Significant Other hears you grind in your sleep
- You notice flattening of your teeth
- Broken teeth/fillings
- Increase in teeth sensitiviy
A dental professional, like your Dentist or Dental Hygienist, will be able to tell the last three, as well. If they haven’t mentioned it to you already, feel free to ask if this is something that may effect you.
Why is it harmful to grind?
Most people clench or grind at night. When you are asleep, so is the function that regulates the jaw’s power. In the day time, your brain puts limitations on how hard you can bite or clench. When you are asleep, so is this part of your brain. That means you are biting way harder than you are able to while you are awake. Those that clench or grind while they are awake, are usually doing it subconsciously. Usually when they are extremely focused or concentrating on something else.
The biggest concern with clenching or grinding is the wear on your teeth. Once you have worn through the enamel, the hard outer structure of your tooth, the wear will increase! The dentin, the inner structure of your tooth, is not as strong as enamel and will wear a lot faster. This will result in wearing your teeth down to stumps. If the wear gets to this point, and no preventative treatment has happened, it can be a very long and expensive problem to fix. Your Dentist can talk to you about crowns and other treatment to restore the height and function of your teeth.
Another concern would be breaking teeth or fracturing your natural teeth or restorations, such as fillings, and crowns. We want to prevent fracturing so that the tooth does not break in a non-restorable way.
As we get older, we will wear on our jaw joint (temporomandibular joint, TMJ), that is a natural process. However, when we are constantly and continually clenching or grinding, that will accelerate the wear. The faster the wear, the increase of problems that can occur: jaw pain, clicking, popping, jaw deviation, or locking open/closed.
What can you do about it?
If you are having these symptoms and concerns, schedule an appointment to visit your Dentist. They can confirm if this is the case. If so there are options.
If you are clenching or grinding your teeth due to malalignment, the Doctor may recommend Invisalign or traditional orthodontics. Putting the teeth in their proper spot will help the jaw align properly as well. It will also prevent fractures or breaks since the teeth will be biting on even surface instead of placing constant and uneven force on the teeth.
A mouthguard, also know as night guard, is a great help. A nightguard is a thick, hard material that does not allow your jaw to clench all the way together. This will prevent advanced wear of your TMJ. Also, clenching or grinding will occur on the guard, instead of your teeth, thus saving your natural and restored tooth structure.
11/26/2017 3:01:19 PM
Maria Ambra, RDH
The Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
As health care providers, during a patient’s initial dental visit, we ask if they would like to have an oral cancer screening in addition to their dental evaluation. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the time, the patient’s answer will be “no” or “I don’t have cancer and never have” or “I’m too young and I don’t smoke, therefore, I don’t need one today”. As Registered Dental Hygienists in today’s ever changing health care demands, how can we approach such an important discussion and answer these types of questions?
In the early stages of most forms of oral cancer, the cancer can’t be detected only visually and may not manifest as painful or cause any discomfort. It is possible for perfectly healthy patients of any age to have pre-cancer or oral cancer and be asymptomatic. Oral cancer is considered an epidemic disease in which over the past 6 years, research shows that this epidemic disease is not caused primarily by traditional risk factors any longer such as smoking, drinking or chewing tobacco.
Unfortunately, 40% of our young population (nonsmokers), especially among high school athletes, makes for the majority of new cases of cancer in the oral cavity and pharynx and more that 50% are detected in late age causing death.
In the population of patients over 40, as age increases, the likely hood of disease tends to develop due to the fact that their immune system becomes less efficient and also an excessive amount of unprotected exposure to the sun can increase lip cancer (the most common undetected oral cancer that is often mistaken for chapped lips). People, who live in areas with poor access to health care or don’t visit a dentist or doctor regularly, are considered to be increased risk for malignancies.
In younger adults under 40, a higher risk is contributed by the exposure to the HPV-16 and the HPV 18 viruses known as the human papilloma virus, leading to an increase each year of about 39,000 new cases of cancer which are found in areas of the body where HPV is found. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV associated cancer among women and oropharyngeal cancer which is often located in the back of the throat, on the base of the tongue and tonsils are the most common among men. It can be spread and contract as easy on intimate contact including kissing through saliva or skin-to-skin contact. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends conducting an oral cancer screening at least once a year for all patients age 17 and beyond. Due to the fact that the naked eye may miss even early signs of oral malignancies, we, as dental practitioner’s, must introduce to our patients the state of the art, new technologies such as IDENTAFI, ORAL-ID or VELSCOPE.
All three are revolutionary devices that use multi-spectral technology to identify early morphologic and biochemical changes of the cells in the mouth, throat and tonsil. During the examination, the patient is also educated by the providers to self- examine often at their own. Some of the early indicators are red or white discoloration of tissues or any sore that doesn’t heal within 14 days, with that, advanced indicators such as sensation of something being stuck in the throat, any numbness in the oral cavity or ear or jaw pain, a lump or thickening in their neck need to be reported immediately to professionals to be examined and evaluated forward. Early detection means early treatment and cure of 90% of cases. EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES!
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www.oralcancerfoundation.com. Edited on March 2013
Hocking, Stein A,Regan D et.al. Head and neck cancer show increasing incident of potential HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.2011 MAR 1
http://www.cancer .org. Can oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer be found early?
11/19/2017 9:43:23 PM
Becky Larson, RDH
Dental “Myth Busters”
There are a lot of dental myths out there that are sometimes mistaken for dental truths. Here are a few facts to help clear up some of the confusion.
Myth #1: You don’t need to brush baby teeth because they will fall out eventually anyway.
Absolutely not! Baby teeth can still get cavities, which can spread to other teeth and cause pain. Some baby teeth may even fall out too soon and cause problems with bite or improper development of a child’s permanent teeth. It’s also important to establish good oral hygiene habits early on. Children’s teeth should be brushed twice daily (just like adult teeth).
Myth #2: Fluoride is poisonous and should be avoided.
Wrong! Each day the enamel layers of our teeth lose minerals (demineralization) due to the acidity of plaque and sugars in the mouth. The enamel is remineralized from food and water consumption. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization leads to tooth decay. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel, thus making it more resistant to acidic demineralization. Fluoride can sometimes reverse early tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, community water fluoridation is the single more effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Many dental offices also offer in office fluoride treatments that can help both children and adults.
Myth #3: You lose one tooth each time you have a child.
Now that’s just silly. Some women think that when they are pregnant the baby leeches a lot of their calcium supply. That may be, but it doesn’t mean she will lose any teeth. However, pregnant women are prone to cavities or having other dental problems. This is due to morning sickness and vomiting, dry mouth, and a desire/craving for more sugary or starchy foods. Pregnant women in these circumstances should be sure to continue their regular dental check-ups and try to maintain pristine oral home care.
Myth #4: If your gums are bleeding you should avoid brushing your teeth and flossing.
I can’t even begin to stress how wrong this one is! If your gums are bleeding it means there is active inflammation and infection present. That means you need to improve on oral hygiene by brushing more frequently or more effectively. Bleeding gums is a sign of periodontal disease. If caught early (in the gingivitis stage) it can be reversed. Brushing should be done twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Flossing should be done at least once daily.
Myth #5: Placing a tablet of aspirin beside an aching tooth can ease the pain.
Wrong again. In order to ease the pain caused by a toothache, aspirin must be fully swallowed. Placing aspirin on gum tissue for long periods of time can actually damage the tissue and possibly cause an abscess.
Myth #6: You don’t need to see the dentist if there is no visible problem with your teeth.
Unfortunately not all dental problems will be visible or obvious. You should continue to visit the dentist for regular check-ups at least twice per year, in conjunction with your cleanings. Dental radiographs or other instruments can detect cavities or other problems that might not be causing any symptoms yet. It’s best to catch things early to minimize the treatment needed.
Myth #7: After a tooth has been treated for decay it will not decay again.
There are no guarantees in dentistry! While the dentist will do their best to restore teeth to last for as long as possible, there is no way of knowing when or if a tooth will get recurrent decay. Proper oral home care can prolong the life of dental restorations.
Don’t always believe what you hear! If you have questions or concerns about your dental health be sure to ask your dentist, hygienist, or other dental professional.
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11/7/2017 4:53:25 AM
Lora Cook, RDH
Six Sign You Need to See a Dentist
Life is so busy, between work, family, and social functions it is hard to fit everything in. Especially that annoying sixth month check up and cleaning. For some people who have had problems with their bone and gum tissue around the teeth more frequent cleanings are needed. However with all that we have to juggle these days regular check ups are sometimes put off too long. When nothing hurts it is all too easy to put a dental check up on the back burner for ‘when we have time’. Lets all face it, we will never feel like we have more time and delaying dental care and especially routine cleanings and check ups will only make the problem worse. Sometimes a problem that we never knew we had silently brewing. Here are five signs that indicate you need to see your dentist.
Inflamed Gums: If you notice that your gum tissue bleeds easily, is red, tender and sore. Make an appointment! These may be signs of gingivitis or possibly gum disease. Brushing harder or more frequently will not take care of this problem. You may have build up that cannot be removed by your toothbrush or floss at home. Left untreated this may lead to tooth loss.
White Spots on Teeth: The white spots on the enamel are the first signs of tooth decay. Decay or a cavity is the break down of the enamel caused by bacteria that weakens the enamel then erodes it away.
Temperature Sensitivity: This can be caused by different possibilities. A cavity can cause sensitivity to hot or cold. Also root sensitivity; this is when the gum tissue recedes down the root of the tooth exposing the root surface that should normally be covered by your gum tissue. Delaying an exam and treatment will only lead to more extensive problems if you are experiencing temperature sensitivity.
Color Changes in Your Mouth: If you have noticed any color changes to the tissue in your mouth see your dentist right away. Always do a little visual inspection after you brush your teeth. Look at your palate. Inside your cheeks, on top and underneath your tongue. Also the back of your throat. Any color changes, lumps or bumps in the tissue should be looked at by your dentist right away.
Headaches: If you are experiencing frequent headaches especially when you first wake up this may be a sign that you are clenching or grinding your teeth. This will cause irreversible damage to your teeth. Your dentist might recommend a custom night guard, this can alleviate your headaches and take that stress off of your jaw joint at night while your sleep.
Chronic Bad Breath: May be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis. The sooner either of these can be diagnosed and treated the healthier your mouth will be and the less likely that this will lead to tooth loss.
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10/29/2017 7:50:56 PM
Amanda Orvis, RDH
FREQUENTLY ASKED FLOSSING QUESTIONS
WHY SHOULD WE FLOSS?
It takes around 24 hours for plaque to form in our mouths, brushing twice daily and flossing once daily disrupts this plaque buildup. Floss goes between our teeth to reach those areas that are not effectively cleaned with our toothbrushes. Floss also goes below the gumline to break up those pesky bacteria that cause gum disease. Without flossing we are only cleaning about 60% of our tooth structure, the other 40% is between our teeth where our toothbrush bristles cannot get to.
HOW TO FLOSS
• Pull about 18 to 24 inches of floss from your floss dispenser, or as I always say, “pull an arm’s length of floss out.”
• Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, and use your thumb and/or index fingers to guide your floss.
• Hold about an inch of floss at a time. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap the floss in a C-shape around one tooth at a time. Floss up and down against the side of each tooth. Hold the floss tautly to maintain the proper form. As you move to another tooth rotate the floss on your fingers so that you are using a new fresh inch of floss between each tooth.
• Don’t skip the back side of the last tooth in your mouth. Even though there is not another tooth touching the back side of that last tooth, there is still a pocket of tissue that can hide bacteria.
HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO FLOSS?
The average adult has 28 teeth in their mouth and each tooth takes about 4 seconds to floss. So keeping that in mind it should take at least 2 minutes to floss the entire mouth.
CAN FLOSS BE HARMFUL?
Flossing incorrectly can be harmful to your oral health. If you floss too vigorously or too quickly you can actually slice into your gum tissue. Try to make the C-shape as mentioned above and hug the side of each individual tooth when flossing.
CAN I FLOSS A FILLING OR CROWN?
Yes, you can floss around fillings and crowns. Both of these restorations are considered permanent in your mouth. They require flossing just like our natural teeth, to disrupt the plaque that can accumulate around them.
WHY AM I BLEEDING WHEN I FLOSS?
If you are flossing too aggressively or incorrectly you can cause bleeding. Most often bleeding is a sign of gum tissue inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Flossing correctly and flossing more often can help to decrease the amount of bleeding. In some occasions bleeding can be a sign of periodontitis, which is a form of gum disease that cannot be resolved without treatment from your dentist or dental hygienist.
DOES A WATERPIK TAKE THE PLACE OF FLOSS?
No, flossing gets below the gumline where a Waterpik cannot. Waterpiks are great adjunctive instruments in addition to flossing, to remove large pieces of debris as well as irrigate above the gumline.
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10/23/2017 3:13:09 AM
Lacee Hogle RDH
How can medications effect my mouth in a negative way? Medications are a necessity in many people’s lives. Unfortunately almost all medications have side effects and one of the most common side effects is dry mouth. Even though dry mouth, or xerostomia (zeer-o-stoe-me-uh), makes it uncomfortable to talk and eat, more importantly it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva is the number one protector in the mouth. Not only does it coat and lubricate the tissue in the mouth, it also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and washes away food debris and plaque. It’s obvious that you can’t discontinue taking medications because it causes dry mouth, but you can start making a few changes in your life that will not only help you cope with dry mouth but will also help you create a healthier environment in your mouth.
Here are some things you can do to help relieve dryness and to keep your mouth healthy:
• Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. Look for products that contain xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that can help prevent cavities.
• Limit your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
• Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
• Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
• Sip water throughout the day.
• Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes
• Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Mouthwash, which also offer protection against tooth decay.
• Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.
• Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
• Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
• Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks because they increase your risk of tooth decay.
• Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least twice a day— ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.
• Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime. Occasionally a custom-fit fluoride applicator (made by your dentist) can make this more effective.
• Visit your dentist at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.
So don’t get discouraged if you have dry mouth. As you can see, there are many things that will help you cope with dry mouth. But remember, the key to preventing decay, especially with dry mouth, is to brush and floss daily and to expose your teeth to fluoride at least twice a day. Using a Fluoride rinse in addition to fluoridated toothpaste is ideal. If you have any concerns or questions regarding dry mouth, make sure to discuss these concerns with your dentist or hygienist.
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10/9/2017 5:27:06 PM
Morgan Johnson, RDH
What is Gum Disease?
You may have heard your Dental Hygienist talk about gum disease at one of your appointments, and been left feeling a bit confused! Hopefully we will answer any questions you may have about it. The first thing to understand is that there are two different kinds of gum disease, also called periodontal disease; one is called “gingivitis” and the other “periodontitis.” We will discuss what causes gum disease, the difference between the two types, and how to treat it!
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The gums can appear red and swollen, and will most likely bleed when brushed or flossed. This is most likely caused by poor oral hygiene habits (not brushing and flossing regularly). But, it could also be caused by other factors such as smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Luckily, this stage is reversible. By brushing for two minutes morning and night, flossing at least once a day, and making sure you are visiting your dental hygienist regularly, this disease can be reversed!
Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease, and occurs when gingivitis has gone untreated. The plaque eventually spreads below the gum line and irritates the gum tissues. When the bacteria eat away at our gums, deep pockets are formed. The body’s inflammatory response becomes stimulated, which in turn destroys the supporting bone and tissues, which hold our teeth. Without that underlying support system, our teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.
How is gum disease treated?
There are many different treatment options, depending on what stage of gum disease is present. A preventive cleaning, or Prophylaxis, is performed to remove the plaque and tartar build up on a healthy mouth, in order to prevent gum disease. A deep cleaning, or Scaling and Root Planing, is performed on a mouth that has active gum disease. This includes removing plaque and tartar buildup above and deep below the gum line. In addition, we will irrigate the pockets (the space in between your teeth and your gums) with a prescription strength mouth rinse that will help kill bacteria deep in those pockets. If a more extensive treatment is needed, we will often refer you to a Periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease.
Hopefully this has been helpful in answering any questions you had about gum disease, and as always, ask us if you have any further questions! We would love to answer them.
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