Alexandria Dentist | Maintaining Healthy Gums

Your soft tissue or “gums” play an important role in maintaining a high level of oral health. Healthy soft tissue keeps teeth in place, reduces the rate of tooth decay, and keeps breath fresh while contributing to optimal overall health.

How Can My Gums Be Damaged?

The main condition that causes damage to the gums is periodontitis. Periodontitis (periodontal disease/gum disease) is the inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, and often causes damage to the gums and loosening of the teeth. Periodontitis occurs when plaque builds up, hardens and turns to calculus or tartar, creating pockets between the teeth and the soft tissue that holds the teeth in place. The inflammation process continues, bacteria spreads and this bacteria eventually may wear away supporting tissue. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes the gums to become inflamed, tender, red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. Since the bone and tissue holding teeth in place isn’t affected, much of the damage from gingivitis is reversible.

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress into more aggressive forms of periodontitis and may result in tooth loss. Even with more severe forms of periodontal disease, effective treatment may be able to prevent the disease from progressing.

How Should I Take Care Of My Gums?

Periodontal disease is a serious and common condition among American adults. According to the CDC, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease, professional treatment is recommended.

Maintaining the health of the gums is crucial for maintaining your overall health. Here are ways to prevent periodontal disease or its progression:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Visit your dentist and follow the treatment plan provided

Periodontal disease has been linked to the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Low birth weight babies and premature delivery

Periodontal disease, while common, is a serious condition that requires professional medical care.

If you’ve been uncomfortable visiting the dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us. Many adults have periodontal disease at various stages. Our team is trained in providing compassionate care and will help you feel confident in your oral healthcare plan. Achieving optimal oral health is within reach and will make a significant impact on your overall health. Contact your Alexandria periodontist to schedule your examination and consultation.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
Url: https://www.drkarlsmith.com/
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Advantages of Regenerative Periodontal Therapy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have periodontitis,* the more advanced form of periodontal disease. In its early stages, periodontal disease is called gingivitis, with symptoms that include swollen, inflamed gums that may bleed during tooth brushing. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis. 

How Is Periodontitis Treated?

Depending on the severity of the disease, there are a range of options available for treating periodontitis. Initially, a deep cleaning that involves scaling and root planing may be recommended to remove the infection and allow your gums to heal. However, if the disease is more advanced, a regenerative periodontal therapy procedure may be the most effective treatment approach. 

What is Regenerative Periodontal Therapy?

A regenerative periodontal therapy procedure is used to reverse the effects of advanced periodontal disease. When the infection has already begun to destroy the underlying bone that supports your teeth, this type of therapy is recommended to: 

  • Remove bacteria from beneath your gum line
  • Regenerate lost bone and tissue 
  • Reshape the bones that support your teeth
  • Prevent future gum damage

Who is a Good Candidate for Regenerative Periodontal Therapy?

People with severe or advanced gum disease are usually good candidates for regenerative periodontal therapy. Common symptoms of advanced gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums 
  • Deep pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Damaged or loose teeth
  • Pain while eating and chewing
  • Halitosis
  • Receding gums

What to expect during regenerative periodontal therapy.

Regenerative periodontal therapy is typically performed under local anesthesia. During the procedure, the gum tissue folded back to remove the disease-causing bacteria. Depending on the degree of damage, membranes, bone grafts, or tissue-stimulating proteins can also be used to stimulate your body’s natural ability to regenerate new bone and healthy gum tissue. Eliminating existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue helps to reduce the pockets between your teeth and gums and restore your mouth to optimal health. 

Periodontal disease and the inflammation that it generates within your body are associated with a number of serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even cancer. Because gum disease is progressive, early treatment is always best. If you have symptoms associated with periodontitis, you may be a candidate for regenerative periodontal therapy. Contact our Alexandria office today for a thorough evaluation.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
Url: https://www.drkarlsmith.com/
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302