15Aug

Treat Your Gums With The Care They Deserve

by Dr. Vareldzis

Dentists want to see our patients a couple times every year.

Ideally, your visits involve a professional dental cleaning and an examination of your mouth. Note that we wrote mouth, not just teeth.

It’s certainly true that we want your teeth to be healthy, but we are just as concerned about the health of your gums.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can cause big changes to your smile. At Hillcrest Family Dentistry, we consider gum disease treatment to be part of our general dentistry.

If you live in Medford, OR, or anywhere else in Jackson County, we encourage you to schedule your next cleaning soon.

Your Gums And Your Teeth

When you smile, people ask to see your “pearly whites.” They don’t ask to see your pinkish gums.

Nevertheless, your gums are essential to keeping your teeth in place. If you need evidence of this, then keep in mind that gum disease is the cause of more tooth loss than any other oral health problem.

In the advanced stages of periodontal disease, you can experience gum recession. When this happens, your gums are separating from your teeth. This is problematic in and of itself, but it’s not the only way gum disease can put your teeth at risk.

Gum disease can lead to bacteria attacking your jawbone as well. When this is combined with your receding gums, it’s no wonder your teeth can start to feel loose or fall out of your mouth.

Gum Disease And Root Canals

In addition to the problems mentioned above, gum disease can set the stage for infected teeth.

When your gums are infected, pockets can form inside the tissue. This may lead to plaque and tartar buildup around the roots of your teeth.

This can serve as a staging area where bacteria eat into your roots. As the bacteria eats deeper into your tooth, it may reach the root canals. These are openings where blood vessels and nerves enter your tooth.

The root canals also contain pulp, a soft connective tissue in the center of your teeth. If bacteria reaches this tissue, it can become inflamed.

And that can be painful when you try to bite or chew with that tooth, when you drink something really hot (like coffee) or eat something cold (like ice cream), or whenever. Lingering pain is a possibility, too.

Hopefully, you will have visited our dentist office before it gets to this point, but you might be surprised how often it is the pain that won’t go away that finally convincing patients to make appointments.

Symptoms And Treatment Of Gum Disease

In the early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis.

The symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and gums that bleed when you brush and floss. Coincidentally, this bleeding is often a sign that you either aren’t brushing and flossing correctly or you aren’t brushing or floss as often as you should.

If you have this form of gum disease, it’s possible to reverse it with self-treatment. How? By doing the things that the American Dental Association recommends doing every day.

This means brushing your teeth twice, for two minutes at a time, with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You only need a pea-sized squeeze of toothpaste, but you do need to be sure that you scrub your teeth on all sides.

If you don’t know how long you are brushing, consider using a stopwatch to make sure you are brushing for the right amount of time.

The second part is just as important. You need to floss your teeth every day at least once.

You can use any kind of dental floss that you want. It can be waxed or unwaxed. It can be regular, fine, or thick. It can be flavored or unflavored.

The main thing is that you do it daily and you do it correctly. Here is a link to a step-by-step description of flossing from the American Dental Association. Consider this a refresher on what to do.

If you don’t treat your gingivitis, you will notice some of the other symptoms we mentioned earlier. Gum recession along with sore and tender gums, pus leaking from your gums, loose teeth, and lingering bad breath are all symptoms of the advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis.

This is not something you can treat by brush and flossing. This requires professional help, help that our team at Hillcrest Family Dentistry is happy to provide.

Making An Appointment

If you have not yet scheduled your next cleaning and examination, please call our dentist office in Medford, OR, at 541-930-8036 or fill out our online form.

If you are showing the symptoms of gum disease, please contact us today so you can be treated as soon as possible. By treating your gums, you are saving your smile, too.