Tag Archives: Gingivitis

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.

 

why gums bleed when brushing teeth

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you might not think much of it. But even though a little pink-tinged toothpaste in the sink twice a day may seem inconsequential, it could be a sign of a big problem.

Healthy gums aren’t supposed to bleed, even a little, and especially not every day. There could be a number of different reasons why your gums are bleeding, from incorrect hygiene habits to chronic health conditions. Here are a few of the most common causes of bleeding gums.

1. You’re brushing and/or flossing too hard

Daily flossing and twice-daily brushing is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth. But using too much force when cleaning your teeth and gums can damage your gums, causing the gumline to erode. Signs of receding gums include soreness and bleeding, and left untreated, they can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Solution: The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. And when brushing and flossing, remember to apply gentle pressure, and go easy on your gums to prevent damage.

2. You have gum disease

A telltale sign of periodontal disease are gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. In its early stages, gum disease takes the form of gingivitis, causing redness, swelling, and irritation where your gums meet the base of your teeth. Gingivitis can progress to a more serious gum disease known as periodontitis, which infects the deeper layer of soft tissue and can cause damage to your teeth and bones.

Solution: After a comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will recommend the right course of action to treat your gum disease. Depending on the severity and location of the infection, you may need professional cleaning, scaling and root planing, or surgical treatments. Most gum disease results from poor oral hygiene habits, so be you’re sticking to a regular recommended brushing and flossing routine, too.

3. You have an abscessed tooth

When a cavity or crack in your tooth goes untreated, harmful bacteria can enter the crevices and infect the dental pulp, an area of your tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. An infection at this depth can cause the tooth root to swell, creating tender, inflamed gums. Brushing and flossing along the area can not only incite bleeding, but it may be very painful as well.

Solution: To treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist may drain the area or perform a root canal to heal the infection while saving the tooth. In severe cases, though, the tooth itself must be extracted to completely eliminate the infection.

4. Your dentures or partials don’t fit properly

Dentures should feel comfortable and allow you to eat, speak, and smile with ease. But over time, as you experience bone loss in your jaw, your mouth will change shape, causing your once-comfortable dentures to become ill-fitting. Ill-fitting dentures can irritate your gums, causing pain, discomfort, and bleeding, and ignoring these symptoms can lead to long-term health issues, such as mouth ulcers or infections.

Solution: To prevent continued bone loss in your jaw, consider dental implants. Since dental implants mimic the structure of a natural tooth root, your jawbone gets the stimulation needed to maintain its density. And unlike dentures, dental implants prevent receding gumlines, keeping your gum tissues healthy and supporting your existing natural teeth.

5. You have an underlying health condition

Sometimes, bleeding gums can be caused by something other than your oral health or hygiene. For example, if you’re on a blood thinner, such as heparin or warfarin, you may bleed more easily when you brush your teeth. Pregnant women can also experience bleeding gums due to hormonal changes that contribute to inflammation, and occasionally, pregnancy-related gingivitis. Additionally, certain vitamin deficiencies can cause weakened gum tissue and impede your body’s ability to heal.

Solution: Ensure you’re eating a healthy diet, with plenty of Vitamin C. And if you’re concerned that an underlying medical condition may be causing your gums to bleed, make an appointment with your doctor for a full physical exam.

San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can treat your bleeding gums

Whatever the cause of your bleeding gums, San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can help you find the solution. Dr. Kwok is committed to understanding your periodontal problems, devising appropriate treatment plans, and providing the best service possible in a safe, comfortable, and professional environment.

Call us at (619) 543-0905 and let us help you develop a plan for long-term periodontal health.