Category Archives: Periodontal Disease

Reasons Your Gums Hurt by San Diego Periodontics & Implant DentistryMost people experience sore gums at some point in their lives. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it should go ignored. Your sore gums may be trying to tell you something. No need to panic. There are a number of possible reasons your gums hurt, and they’re not all scary. Although it can be a sign of a complex issue with your oral health, in many cases, gum pain can be relieved by making a simple change to your routine.

Here are 10 possible reasons your gums hurt:

1. Hard toothbrush bristles

Brushing with a hard-bristled brush can damage the gum tissue and wear away tooth enamel, resulting in gum pain and tooth sensitivity. A toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles is sufficient for cleaning the teeth and protecting the gums.

2. Overly vigorous brushing

While it may seem like vigorous brushing is the best way to get your teeth clean, it does far more harm than good. Instead of pressing down hard and brushing back and forth, apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the teeth and gums, and brush in a gentle, circular motion. Gentle brushing gets the job done, as long as you’re consistent and thorough.

3. Gum disease

Painful gums are often linked to gum disease. Poor oral hygiene causes bacteria to form plaque on the teeth, and as it accumulates under the gums, they become inflamed and sore. If left untreated, gum disease destroys the tissue around the teeth, causing tooth loss and other dental issues. One reason it’s important to visit your dentist at least twice a year is to catch gum disease in its early stages and reverse it before it can do damage.

4. Canker sore

When gum pain is localized, it may be the result of a canker sore, a small open wound in the mouth. Canker sores can be caused by tissue injury from a toothbrush slip, the sharp edge of a corn chip or other hard food, or an allergy to something in your food or toothpaste. Certain acidic foods or underlying health conditions can also cause canker sores. Normally, they go away on their own in a few days, though certain health conditions may cause them to last longer. If you have a canker sore that won’t go away, see a doctor or dentist right away, as it could be a sign of oral cancer.

5. Periodontal abscess

Another possible cause of localized gum pain is an abscess, which is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. Abscesses can form on the gums or in the area around a tooth. They result in gum pain and tooth sensitivity, and may be accompanied by fever or a bad taste in the mouth. If you have a periodontal abscess, it’s important to visit your periodontist right away.

6. Hormonal changes

The hormonal changes women experience during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can result in red, swollen, or painful gums. Stay in touch with your dentist to maintain your oral health and discuss possible home remedies for relief.

7. Braces

Swollen gums are common when braces are new, and then again whenever they’re tightened. The presence of the metal brackets and pressure from eating certain foods can also irritate the gums, causing them to swell and become sore. Additionally, braces can make it difficult to properly brush away all the plaque, putting the individual at risk of gum disease. Be sure to alert your dentist and orthodontist if your gums remain sore.

8. Poor-Fitting dentures

It is expected to have some soreness for a few days after receiving your dentures. But when the pain lasts, it could be a sign that they don’t fit properly. If your gums remain sore, your dentures may need to be adjusted.

9. Smoking or tobacco chewing

Smoking and tobacco chewing put the individual at risk for a number of health problems, including gum disease, weakened immune system, oral cancer, and other factors that can result in painful, swollen, and infected gums.

10. Poor diet

Diet plays a significant role in gum health as well. Poor eating habits and overly restrictive diets result in a lack of necessary nutrients for keeping the body healthy. Because teeth and gums are living parts of the body, they suffer when nutritional needs are not met. Talk to your dentist about the best foods for your oral health.

Struggling with sore gums? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kwok today.

If you’re experiencing gum pain that won’t go away even after you switch to a softer toothbrush or change to more gentle brushing habits, it’s probably time to visit a periodontist. At San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, Dr. Kwok is dedicated to helping each of his patients optimize their oral health. When you come in for your consultation, he’ll thoroughly evaluate the condition of your gums, discuss your symptoms and concerns, and provide you with the best treatment options to relieve your pain and keep you healthy.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (619) 543-0905 today.

Maintaining good oral health is as simple as daily brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups at the dentist, but many people are under the misconception that the worst consequence for letting oral health slide is a cavity or two. While a cavity is indeed serious enough to require dental intervention, it is only one of many possible negative outcomes. One of the worst is periodontal disease, which if left untreated can result in tooth loss and additional health issues.

What is periodontal disease?

Inadequate brushing and flossing allows bacteria to thrive where the teeth meet the gums, and the subsequent build-up of plaque and tartar can result in a serious gum infection. Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, can also be caused by smoking. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or medications that reduce saliva flow are also significant risk factors. Periodontal disease occurs in four separate stages, and only the first stage is reversible—the rest will require advanced dental treatments. 

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis results from a build-up of plaque around the teeth, causing swelling and redness in the gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, and occasional bad breath. At this point, the infection is mild and has not attacked the tooth root or bones, which means it is reversible. All you need to do is step up your brushing and flossing routine, and also get a deep professional cleaning from your dentist. 

Stage 2: Slight periodontal disease

Once periodontal disease progresses past gingivitis, it might not be reversible but it is still manageable. At this stage, the infection has spread to the bone and begins to attack bone tissues with stronger, highly aggressive bacteria. Symptoms of slight periodontal disease include increased swelling or redness of the gums and bleeding during brushing or flossing. Your dentist can diagnose this stage of the disease by probing the depths between your gums and teeth. If the depth is between four and five millimeters, you likely have slight periodontal disease that will need specialized cleaning procedures to treat.

Stage 3: Moderate periodontal disease

The symptoms of moderate periodontal disease are the same as slight periodontal disease, although probing depths will be deeper, between six and seven millimeters. With those deeper pockets between your teeth and gums, even more bacteria attacks your teeth and jawbone. At this stage, the bacteria can make its way into your bloodstream and immune system as well. The treatment for stages 2 and 3 is also the same: scaling and root planing, which are intense deep cleaning procedures that remove bacterial deposits far below the gumline. 

Stage 4: Advanced periodontal disease

If you ignore the symptoms of earlier stages of periodontal disease, you will shift into stage 4, which threatens a 50-90% chance of irreversible bone loss. Symptoms of this final stage include red, swollen gums that ooze pus, painful chewing, extreme cold sensitivity, severe bad breath, and loosened teeth. The only remedy at this point is periodontal surgery or periodontal laser therapy, which will clean out the deep pockets of bacteria beneath the gums and allow the infected tissue to heal.

Periodontal treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Daily brushing and flossing is the most effective way  to prevent periodontal disease and the related symptoms and health complications. But if you do have symptoms of earlier or later stages of gum disease, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible.

At San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we specialize in gum health and treatments, so if you have questions about periodontal disease, check out our FAQ page or call us at (619) 543-0905 to schedule a consultation.

 

Does Diet Affect Gum Disease by San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Your smile is one of your best assets.  But missing teeth, bleeding gums, bad breath, and other symptoms of gum disease can seriously diminish your desire to smile. Gum disease affects more than just your teeth and gums, though. It can also lead to serious medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly are key factors in keeping gum disease at bay. But did you know that what you eat in your diet can make a difference, too? 

Periodontal disease is characterized by chronic inflammation produced in response to bacteria in the gums. Numerous studies have concluded that an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation, inhibit harmful bacteria, and heal the gums. If you want to prevent or reverse gum disease, make sure you eat these foods:

Blueberries

A natural compound found in blueberries helps block molecular pathways involved in inflammation, which contributes to gum disease. The same compound also reduces the formation of bacteria. 

Green Tea

Research has shown that green tea interferes with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria. And one study that analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men found lower instances of gum disease in those who regularly drank green tea. 

Salmon

The long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and other fatty fish have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and have been proven to reduce periodontitis. 

Cauliflower and Broccoli

A deficiency of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been found in patients with gum disease. Researchers have found  that increasing levels of CoQ10 can help suppress the associated inflammation and periodontal bacteria. Foods containing higher levels of CoQ10 include cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, peanuts, soybeans, lentils, trout, herring, and mackerel.

Raw Onions

The juices in raw onions can kill several different strains of bacteria, including those that lead to gum disease.  

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms contain a polysaccharide called lentinan, which attacks harmful bacteria while leaving good bacteria alone. Shiitake mushrooms also help to reduce inflammation.  

Guavas and Strawberries

Gum disease is associated with low levels of vitamin C, so it’s important to eat foods that contain it in abundance. The high concentration of vitamin C in guavas, strawberries, oranges and other citrus fruits helps support the gum lining and protects against periodontal disease. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in collagen production, and can help repair damaged gums. 

Your Gums Are the Foundation of Your Smile

The foods you eat can make a significant difference in your oral health, but they are not a substitute for consistent brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist.  If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, painful or swollen gums, bad breath, or loose teeth, it’s important that you consult a dental practitioner who can help optimize your oral health in order to prevent more serious complications from developing.  

At San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we strive for personalized patient care, and we’re committed to providing you with high quality treatment in a comfortable and friendly environment.

For more information on our services or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at 619-543-0905 today. 

Gum Disease Sign of Cancer San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

We all know brushing and flossing are necessary for maintaining optimum oral health. But not everyone understands that failing to maintain proper oral hygiene can have serious consequences for our overall health, including the increased risk of certain cancers associated with gum disease. According to the Center for Disease Control,  47.2% of adults age 30 and over have some form of gum disease. For adults 65 and over, that number increases dramatically to 70.1%. These numbers are of particular concern because of links between gum disease and more serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and esophageal and gastric cancer. 

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the warning signs of gum disease? 

Gum disease is the result of infection and inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth. When left untreated, the inflammation causes the gums and bone structure to deteriorate, which can lead to oral health complications. The signs and symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bad breath

Smoking, poor diet, genetics, and poor oral hygiene can all increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. 

How is gum disease linked to serious health problems?

Periodontal disease is a persistent infection of the gums. The bacteria present in gum disease can travel to different parts of the body, triggering inflammation and infection, and significantly increasing the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Researchers are still working to understand the exact connections between gum disease and specific health problems, but generally systemic inflammation and infection play a role. 

  • Diabetes – Research shows a distinct relationship between gum disease and diabetes: the elevated blood sugar levels in those with diabetes increase the risk of developing gum disease because it diminishes the body’s ability to fight off the bacteria.  Conversely, gum disease can also contribute to higher levels of blood glucose. 
  • Heart disease and stroke – Scientists suspect that the bacteria associated with gum disease triggers inflammation in the arteries, which causes the blood vessels to narrow, restricting blood flow and increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.  Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions.

The links between gum disease and esophageal and gastric cancers

In a long-term study involving nearly 150,000 men and women, researchers examined possible links between periodontal disease with tooth loss and gastric and esophageal cancers. In a 22-28-year follow up, they discovered 199 cases of esophageal cancer and 238 cases of gastric cancer. The results of this preliminary research suggests that a history of gum disease with tooth loss increases in the risk of developing esophageal cancer by 43% and gastric cancer by 52%.  Further research is still needed to confirm and understand the connections, but early theories involve periodontal pathogens and poor oral hygiene. 

This does not mean that every person with gum disease will develop cancer, but it does serve as an important reminder that gum disease is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s overall health in the long-term.

At San Diego Periodontics, we can help you maintain optimum oral health

With proper oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings, you can prevent, stop, or even reverse the symptoms of gum disease. Brushing and flossing regularly helps remove plaque and food particles, which in turn keeps the oral bacteria down. Regular visits to San Diego Periodontics will help identify and treat early symptoms before they cause more serious health complications. If you have bleeding gums, red tender gums, bad breath, or loose teeth, you may have periodontal disease. We can help.

Give us a call today at (619) 543-0905 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.

Gum Disease Increases COVID-19 Deaths San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands frequently are effective precautions against contracting COVID-19, but your oral hygiene is also an important part of staying healthy.  

Proper oral hygiene might not prevent you from getting infected with COVID-19, but a new study shows that gum disease is linked to worse outcomes for infected patients because it triggers additional respiratory issues that increase the risk of death. Brushing and flossing have always been important, but COVID-19 is a reminder that avoiding gum disease is crucial. Here’s why:

Deadly protein leads to cytokine storm

In a three-month study organized by Dr. Shervin Molayem, founder of the UCLA Dental Research Journal, and Dr. Carla Pontes, a scientist and healthcare researcher in South Africa, researchers identified a harmful protein called IL-6 that is released in patients with gum disease. This protein can spread to the lungs and promote inflammation. Patients who have gum disease can inhale the IL-6 laden bacteria in their gums, where it adheres to the lung tissue. This can cause what is known as a cytokine storm, which is an overreaction of the body’s immune system that leads to severe inflammation of the lung tissue. One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is difficulty breathing, and a cytokine storm exacerbates this.

Higher chances of ventilator use and death

Patients who are infected with COVID-19 and have high levels of IL-6 due to gum disease are 22 times more likely to be placed on a ventilator. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of all COVID-19 patients who were put on a ventilator ending up dying earlier in the pandemic. The rate of recovery has increased in the last few months, but there is still no defining predictor of which patients will have worse outcomes. Patients of all ages and health backgrounds continue to die from the virus, and one of the only common denominators is likely the prevalence of gum disease.  

Protecting the vulnerable

As a result of the study, researchers are prompting places with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes and hospitals, to adopt regular dental screenings to catch early signs of gum disease before patients catch COVID-19. The elderly are especially vulnerable, as they are already more susceptible to gum disease. Most COVID-19 deaths have occurred with patients over the age of 65. 

Regardless of age or health condition, researchers recommend everyone optimize their oral hygiene routine, reduce sugar and carb consumption that can encourage bacteria growth in the mouth, and take daily doses of vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc and turmeric. While following these recommendations won’t prevent you from contracting COVID-19, they will reduce your chances of ventilator use and death.

“As the death toll keeps climbing, the CDC now predicts [COVID-19] will be among the leading causes of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer,” said Dr. Molayem in a press release about the study. “Now that we suspect periodontitis makes it even deadlier, if you’re worried that you may have gum disease, your next trip to the dentist may actually save your life.”

Get checked for early signs of gum disease 

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, a good oral health routine includes at least twice-yearly visits to the dentist for an exam and professional cleaning. But if you suspect you might have gum disease—symptoms include red, swollen, or tender gums, or bleeding while brushing or flossing—call San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at (619) 543-0905 to schedule an immediate exam.

link-between-gum-disease-and-heart-disease-san-diego-periodontics-&-implant-dentistryGum disease is a serious dental condition that can lead to further oral health problems if left untreated. But recent research indicates that gum disease can also have far-reaching effects on your overall health, especially the health of your heart. In fact, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease, along with increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Here’s how:

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums caused when bacteria-filled plaque builds up around the teeth. The most common symptoms are red, swollen, or tender gums that can bleed easily or appear to pull away from the teeth. The best way to prevent gum disease is daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to your dentist. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and a breakdown of the gum tissue.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease refers to a broad set of medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke, and it is usually caused by the narrowing or blockage of vital blood vessels with another type of plaque. Arterial plaque is made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances, and it can build up around artery walls and restrict the flow of blood. If a chunk of plaque breaks off and clogs the artery entirely, a heart attack will result.

How does gum disease affect your heart?

While arterial plaque can be caused by many factors, most commonly smoking and an unhealthy diet, it can also form as part of the body’s natural response to infection. After finding oral bacteria present in arterial plaque, scientists suspect the oral bacteria present in patients with gum disease can travel through the body, stick to existing arterial plaque, and trigger an inflammatory response. The inflammation can cause blood vessels to swell and narrow blood flow, increasing the risk of clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Does gum disease always lead to heart disease?

Not everyone who has gum disease will develop heart problems, and many people with heart disease have healthy gums, so there is not a definitive cause-and-effect link between the two health issues. However, many recent studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of developing heart disease. It’s important to practice daily oral hygiene, eat a nutritious diet, and get regular exercise in order to achieve and maintain optimal health. 

Is gum disease linked to other medical conditions?

Although much more research is needed to fully understand how gum disease affects the rest of the body, some studies have discovered that bacteria in the mouth can move to the lungs and cause infections such as pneumonia. Additionally, there are possible links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer such as kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers.

Gum disease treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you are showing early signs of gum disease, it’s crucial to start treatment immediately before the periodontal bacteria spreads through the rest of your body. At San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we specialize in periodontal health and can help you get the treatment you need. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (619) 543-0905.

Can Vaping Cause Gum Disease by San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

The popularity of e-cigarettes has increased dramatically over the last few years, primarily due to the myth that vaping is “healthier” than smoking cigarettes. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine and can negatively impact your overall health. Most recent news stories have focused on vaping-related lung disease—with some cases proving fatal—but the ill effects of vaping on oral health have not been publicized as much. If you indulge in vaping, here’s what you should know about its effects on your mouth, gums, and teeth.

Vaping and dental health

E-cigarettes use an aerosol, or vapor, as a delivery system for nicotine, but that does not mean it’s healthier to inhale than tobacco smoke. Nicotine has the same negative impact on your oral health regardless of how it’s consumed, with potential complications including:

How do e-cigarettes affect your teeth?

Consuming nicotine reduces saliva production in your mouth, and without enough moisture, bacteria-packed plaque and tartar can build up on the teeth and lead to cavities and, eventually, tooth decay. Because nicotine is a stimulant, consuming it can cause your jaw muscles to clench and grind your teeth. Frequent grinding and clenching can damage your teeth and surrounding mouth tissues, leading to more serious oral health problems.

How do e-cigarettes affect your gums?

Nicotine reduces blood flow to your teeth and gums, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy. As a result, the gum tissue can die and recede, increasing the risk of developing cavities. Vaping and teeth sensitivity is also a concern, as receding gums can expose areas of the teeth where the protective enamel is not as thick. However, the most significant effect of vaping on gums is the increased risk of gum disease.

Vaping and gum disease

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered, “What causes bleeding gums when vaping?” It’s the swelling and inflammation of gum disease that’s making your gums bleed. Using e-cigarettes causes gum inflammation and swelling as much as regular cigarettes because nicotine is the culprit. And when gums are swollen, they are more susceptible to increased bacteria levels in the mouth, especially when combined with a lack of saliva. High levels of bacteria often lead to gum disease.  And in answer to the question, “Does vaping cause bad breath?” the answer is yes. 

There’s no getting around it—vaping is detrimental to your oral health in general and your gums in particular. If you are a regular user of e-cigarettes and you notice any of the following symptoms, you most likely have gum disease:

  • Red, irritated, tender, or swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn’t respond to mouthwash or breath fresheners

Cosmetic effects of vaping 

The potential for gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, and other medical conditions are enough reason to give up vaping, but there are also negative cosmetic effects to consider. Vaping teeth stains from nicotine are quite common, and of course tooth loss from untreated gum disease or damage from bruxism will have a noticeable impact on your smile.

Gum disease treatment in San Diego

If you notice that vaping is making your gums bleed, it’s best to seek treatment immediately to prevent further oral health complications. The specialists at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry will explain your diagnosis and treatment plan in full, and help restore the health of your bright, healthy smile. If you need help giving up nicotine, we can offer recommendations.

Give us a call at (619) 543-0905 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Periodontics Procedures By Dr. Kennie Kwok Of San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Periodontics is a practice area in the field of dentistry that specializes in gums and other tooth-supporting tissues, also known as the periodontium. While most general dentists are trained to diagnose and treat mild periodontal disease (gum disease), complex or severe cases are referred to a periodontic specialist who has additional training and expertise in in periodontics procedures.

What’s a periodontist?

Periodontists are dental specialists that focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and dental implants. The additional three years of education and training beyond a basic dentistry degree that periodontists receive equips them to diagnose underlying conditions and offer a range of effective treatments. Click here to learn more about Dr. Kennie Kwok of San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry.

What does a periodontist do for gum disease?

For minor to moderate gum disease, treatment starts with less-invasive, non-surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing, in which specialized hand tools are used to deep-clean the surfaces of the teeth below the gum line.

If periodontal disease has progressed such that gum tissue no longer fits snug against the teeth, minor gum surgery might be required to address the loose “pockets.” During a pocket reduction procedure, the periodontist will open a small flap in the gums to remove infected tissue so healthier gum tissue can naturally reattach to the teeth. An alternative less invasive option may be to use an Nd:YAG laser to “tighten up” the loose pockets.

Advanced gum disease can erode bone in the jaw and severely damage supporting tissues, and if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. Periodontists can help arrest or even reverse the damage in some cases by performing regenerative procedures including bone grafts, gum grafts, and treatments that stimulate tissue growth.

Other Periodontics Procedures

While periodontists specialize in gum disease treatment, they offer a range of treatment options for other periodontium problems as well. Other periodontics procedures include:

Gum graft surgery

Treats receding gums by covering exposed roots, which reduces sensitivity, protects against tooth decay, and can help prevent further recession

Crown lengthening surgery

Reshapes excess gum and possibly bone tissue to change the appearance of a “gummy” smile or to create a healthy space amongst the teeth, gums, and bone.

Dental implant surgery

Replaces missing, decayed, or damaged teeth with a strong, natural-looking prosthetic tooth that is anchored into the jawbone.

Why Would You Need to See a Periodontist?

Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to a general dentist for a thorough cleaning and exam are the keys to maintaining good oral health, but it only takes a small amount of overlooked plaque and tartar to lead to gum disease. Patients with severe or complex gum disease will be referred to a periodontist to treat gum disease and prevent it from recurring, although there are also cosmetic reasons to see a periodontist. Periodontal plastic surgery can treat a variety of issues affecting the appearance of your smile, including excess gums, receding gums, and missing teeth.

The field of periodontics involves an array of dental issues and treatment options, but all periodontists share a set of common goals: to restore diseased gum tissue to good health, to improve the appearance and function of your smile, and to help you maintain good oral health so you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible.

Learn more about prioritizing dental health and how ignoring it will cost you more long-term. 

Periodontics treatment in San Diego

If your dentist has referred you to a periodontics specialist or you’re interested in dental cosmetic surgery, San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is here to help. We specialize in personalized patient care, including a comprehensive approach to education and communication to ensure our patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. To schedule a consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at (619) 304-9184.

Best Treatment for Advanced Periodontal Disease San Diego

Advanced periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, is extremely common among American adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 47% of people age 30 and up in the United States have periodontitis—that’s over 64 million people nationwide who are at an increased risk of deep tissue infection and tooth loss.

Fortunately, you can decrease this risk with advanced gum disease treatment. Through nonsurgical or surgical procedures, you can reverse the effects of periodontitis and restore your healthy smile.

What is Advanced Periodontal Disease?

Gum disease usually begins as gingivitis, a bacterial infection caused by persistent plaque. In the early stages of gingivitis, gums become red, inflamed, and sore, and you may notice blood when you brush or floss your teeth.

With proper dental care, gingivitis is easily reversible. Left untreated, however, it can rapidly progress to advanced periodontal disease, which causes receding gums, bad breath, and even tooth loss.

While it’s a highly treatable condition, the type of periodontitis treatment you receive depends on the severity of your gum disease.

Nonsurgical Options for Advanced Periodontal Disease Treatment

If your periodontitis isn’t severe, you may benefit from less invasive, nonsurgical treatments, such as:

  • Scaling

Scaling is a deep-cleaning procedure designed to remove tartar and plaque both above and beneath your gum line.

  • Root Planing

Often performed alongside scaling, root planing smooths your tooth roots to encourage seamless reattachment of your gums.

  • Antibiotics

Your periodontist may apply local antibiotics during a cleaning procedure, but oral antibiotics may also help eliminate infections beneath your gums.

Surgical Options for Advanced Periodontal Disease Treatment

When noninvasive treatments aren’t enough to control the inflammation and pockets associated with periodontitis, you may need to undergo one of the following surgical procedures:

  • Pocket Reduction Surgery

Also known as flap surgery, this involves tiny incisions in the gums which are then used to fold back the tissue, enabling easier access for deep cleaning.

During pocket reduction surgery, your periodontist can remove infectious bacteria and recontour your tooth roots before stitching your gums back in place.

  • Soft Tissue Grafts

Periodontitis often leads to a receding gumline, sometimes causing a loss of the strong gum tissue normally surrounding your teeth. If your gums are damaged beyond repair, you may require a gum graft from the roof of your mouth to build back the strong gum tissue that was lost.

Gum grafts can protect your teeth, reduce sensitivity, and enhance your appearance.

  • Bone Grafts

At times, periodontal disease can result in a severe amount of bone loss around your teeth. In these cases, bone grafts can prevent tooth loss and encourage the regrowth of your natural bone.

During a bone grafting procedure, your periodontist will surgically place small pieces of bone along with some growth factors to help jumpstart the bone growth. 

Keep Your Gums Healthy With Periodontal Maintenance

After receiving treatment for periodontitis, it’s important to keep your gums healthy through regular periodontal maintenance.

Aside from fastidious home care, including at least twice-daily brushing and flossing, your periodontist may provide you with a prescription for mouthwash or recommend professional in-office periodontal cleanings to check for areas of concern and prevent major gum problems before they begin.

Advanced Periodontitis Treatment at San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry

If you’re looking for a periodontal dentist in San Diego, come to San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry. Dr. Kennie Kwok is a highly educated, experienced, and committed periodontist who takes the time to educate his patients on how to effectively care for their gums. We offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment for advanced periodontal disease and can recommend a periodontal maintenance plan that’s right for you.

Call our office at (619) 543-0905 to make an appointment for periodontal services or to schedule a consultation.

 

Gum Surgery Explained San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist, will help keep your teeth healthy and strong. But good oral hygiene isn’t just for your teeth—it also keeps your gums healthy. Regular oral exams give your dentist the chance to detect gum disease in its early stages and treat it before it progresses.

When you skip your dental visits for too long, untreated gum disease can leave you with infected and damaged gums that require surgery. If your dentist has referred you to a gum specialist for gum surgery, here’s what you need to know:

Reasons for Gum Surgery

Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, can usually be treated by a dentist. Periodontitis is an advanced form of gingivitis that leads to inflammation and damaged bone and tissue. Periodontitis usually requires a visit to a gum doctor, known as a periodontist, and treatment may involve gum surgery. Periodontal surgery can regrow damaged bones and tissues, prevent tooth loss, reduce gum gaps between the teeth, and reshape the jawbone to eliminate bacterial growth.

However, gum disease is not the only reason for gum surgery. Some patients opt for cosmetic gum surgery, such as when their gums cover too much of their teeth, a condition known as a “gummy smile.”

Types of Gum Surgery

The type of gum surgery you need depends on the severity of your gum disease and the specific damage it has done, or the type of cosmetic results you desire. Types of gum surgery include:

1. Gingival Flap Surgery

Gums are separated from the teeth for a deep cleaning, then stitched back into place around the teeth. Bone reshaping is sometimes required during the surgery.

2. Gingivectomy

Excess and overgrown gum tissue is removed to improve aesthetics and to make it easier to keep the surface of the teeth clean.

3. Gingivoplasty

Healthy gum tissue is reshaped for a more appealing aesthetic, sometimes in combination with a gum graft.

4. Gum Graft

Tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and stitched into place on either side of a tooth that is exposed due to gums that are receding. This helps even the gum line and reduce sensitivity.

5. Gum Regeneration

Gum tissue is folded back and bacteria is removed. The surgeon inserts bone grafts, membranes, or tissue-stimulating proteins to help the gum tissues regenerate around the teeth.

What to Expect During Gum Surgery

Before most types of gum surgery begin, the periodontist will thoroughly clean your teeth and apply a local anesthetic to numb the area. In some cases, a general anesthetic may also be needed. If you require a deep clean beneath the surface of the gums, the periodontist will make small incisions along the gum line, and lift the gums away from the teeth to clean even deeper and remove any tartar, plaque, or infected tissue.

Finally, the periodontist will perform the specific procedure you need, then stitch your gums back in place. Your periodontist will be able to give you more information on the particulars of your procedure, how to prepare for it and how long it will take.  

What to Expect During Recovery

Recovery times for periodontal surgery will depend on the type of procedure, but most periodontists will schedule a follow-up within 1 to 2 weeks. During the recovery period, you will need to use an antiseptic mouthwash to keep your mouth clean and avoid infection. Your surgeon might also prescribe a round of antibiotics.

For the first few days after surgery, you may be instructed to eat soft foods and avoid strenuous exercise. You should also avoid smoking during the entire recovery process.

Potential Pain and Discomfort

If your dentist has referred you to a periodontist for surgery, you’re probably wondering, “is gum surgery painful?” The answer depends on each person and procedure, but in general there is little to no pain during the actual surgery due to the anesthetics used.

After the surgery, most people only have mild to moderate pain that can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. Moderate swelling might occur. Your periodontist will give you more specific information about how to manage any pain and swelling you might have.

Alternatives to Gum Surgery

For certain gum conditions, you might be a candidate for alternative treatments that don’t require gum surgery. For receding gums, the “pinhole” technique for gum grafting uses a special instrument to release the gum tissue and move it to its proper position on the teeth. Once the gums are in place, collagen strips are used to stabilize the gum position and encourage the readaptation of the gum tissue to the teeth at a new level.

Another non-surgical gum treatment is the Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP), which treats the pockets between the gum and teeth that can collect gum disease-causing bacteria. LANAP uses a laser to eliminate bacteria in the pockets and remove diseased tissue to help the collagen fibers of the gums reattach to the tooth, recreating the lost seal.

Restore Your Healthy Smile at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

At San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we’re committed to providing the best service in a professional and compassionate environment. We’ll also work with your dentist to coordinate and optimize your treatment to help you achieve and maintain the best possible oral health. For more information about gum surgery procedures or to set up a consultation to determine whether you’re a candidate for non-surgical gum treatments, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (619) 543-0905.