Healthy Gums are the Foundation for a Healthy Smile

periodontal-diseaseEllicott City dentist Dr. Ray Becker emphasizes the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene, regular professional cleanings and oral examinations, in an effort to keep the natural teeth for life.

Gum disease, which is a bacterial infection, threatens the gums and bone tissue, which support healthy teeth. In most cases, patients do not realize they have gum disease, especially if they smoke (nicotine reduces blood supply preventing bleeding and swelling of the gum tissues).

Routine preventive dental care enables Dr. Becker to look for early signs of gum disease. When treated early, conservative measures are often successful and can prevent the development of more complex dental problems down the road.

About Gum Disease

Gum disease affects more than 75% of adults at some point in their lives and has actually been linked to more serious conditions, such as cardio-vascular disease (CVD), diabetes and preterm births. Research has suggested two plausible mechanisms for how gum disease and these other serious medical concerns could be related: moderate to severe periodontal disease increases the level of systemic (bodily) inflammation — a characteristic of all chronic inflammatory diseases.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Irritated, red or swollen gums
  • Loose teeth or changes in the bite
  • Sensitivity
  • Persistent bad breath

Periodontal Therapy Ellicott City

Periodontal therapy includes both surgical and non-surgical techniques to restore health to the tissues that support the teeth (gums and bone) and prevent tooth loss. Dr. Becker will perform a thorough evaluation of your oral health and recommend the most effective treatment based on the severity of gum disease. Dr. Becker has incorporated the use of dental lasers for the treatment of gum disease, providing more accurate results with less bleeding, swelling and down time.

Scaling and Root Planing: a deep-cleaning technique often recommended for early stage gum disease known as gingivitis. Plaque and calculus (tartar) are removed from beneath the gum tissues, using hand scalers and/or ultrasonic instruments.

Gum Grafting: the surgical replacement of areas where gum tissue has been lost or receded to ensure tooth roots are adequately protected.

Periodontal Plastic Surgery: any reshaping procedure that creates a more pleasing appearance of the gum tissues.

Periodontal Laser Treatment: the removal of diseased gum tissue with lasers, offering significant advantages over conventional surgery, such as less discomfort and gum shrinkage.

Crown Lengthening Surgery: surgical procedure in which tooth structure that is covered by gum and bone tissue may need to be exposed either for cosmetic reasons (too make the teeth look longer and the smile less gummy) or to aid in securing a new dental crown.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to brush and floss your teeth effectively every day. This doesn't mean scrubbing, which can actually cause your gums to recede.

Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings every 3 or 4 or 6 months are also an important part of maintaining periodontal health; the instruments and techniques used in these cleanings can reach into areas that your toothbrush and floss can't.

It is also possible to detect early forms of gum disease by evaluating your gingival (gum) tissues, both visually and by examining their attachment levels to the teeth. And the health of your tooth-supporting bone can be assessed by taking dental radiographs (x-rays pictures).

There are other steps you can take: Eating right, reducing stress in your life, and giving up unhealthy habits like smoking will also help ensure that you keep your teeth for a lifetime.