Gum tissue holds teeth in place and protects the tooth roots. Because the gums play a major role in a healthy, beautiful smile, it’s important to protect this soft tissue from gum disease and other problems.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a serious risk to dental and overall health. If you’re at risk of gum disease or you’re suffering from the early stages, the dentists at La Jolla Smile Design can recommend preventative measures and general dentistry treatments to restore healthy tissue.
To seek treatment for gum disease, call us today at (858) 454-3044. Our dental team, which includes Dr. Jaime Breziner, Dr. David Vasquez and our periodontist, Dr. Garry Bloch, provide a range of services, including gum therapy, to patients throughout the San Diego area. Dr. Bloch stays up to date on all advances in periodontal treatment through his involvement in the American Academy of Periodontology and continuing education courses.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when there is too much plaque in the mouth, which causes gum tissue to become inflamed. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, with symptoms including:
- Bleeding from the gums, especially after brushing or flossing
- Swelling of gum tissue
- Red, irritated look and feel
When left untreated, gum disease can advance to periodontitis. At this stage the symptoms of gingivitis become more acute, and you might notice that certain teeth are starting to become loose. This happens because the gum tissue is pulling away from the teeth.
Along with destabilizing the teeth, severe gum disease has also been linked to a host of serious health issues such as:
- Heart disease
- Elevated stroke risk
- Respiratory problems
- Premature birth in pregnant women
If you begin experiencing symptoms of gum disease, book an appointment with our dentists as soon as possible.
Determining the Best Gum Disease Treatment
Catching gum disease early is crucial to successful treatment. Bacteria in the mouth is easier to remove in its initial stages, and early diagnosis can minimize damage to gum tissue.
We will check for signs of gum disease during your six-month exam. If your regular preventative care isn’t enough to stop plaque growth, you might need professional treatment. Gum disease treatments we offer at our La Jolla office include:
- Scaling and root planing
- Laser gum therapy
- Professional cleaning — some patients can eliminate sufficient bacteria for healthy gum tissue just by visiting us twice a year
We are passionate about using the latest in dental technology to give patients the treatment they need for oral health. Scaling and root planing is a “first defense” against gum disease, but in some cases laser treatment can enhance the results.
Scaling and Root Planing
If the professional cleaning provided as part of your six-month dental visit doesn’t remove enough bacteria to keep gum tissue healthy, a scaling and root planing procedure is often the next step. Scaling and root planing is an effective treatment for the early stages of gum disease.
Our dentists will clean beneath the gum line all along the tooth root. This deeper cleaning will not only remove buildup of plaque in areas you can’t normally reach but also even out the surface of the tooth, giving bacteria fewer places to hide.
After scaling and root planing, you’ll have to brush and floss your teeth diligently to prevent growth of more bacteria and keep gum disease from advancing. We might prescribe an antibiotic afterward to encourage healing and fight infection.
Laser Gum Therapy
The laser used in periodontal therapy precisely targets infected gum tissue and vaporizes it, killing the bacteria quickly with focused heat.
Laser gum treatment has a number of benefits, including:
- Non-surgical alternative for removing unhealthy tissue
- Little to no discomfort, decreasing the need for anesthesia
- The laser cauterizes the treatment area, minimizing bleeding
- Healing begins soon after the procedure
In most cases, we will recommend using laser therapy in conjunction with scaling and root planing to provide your gums the deepest, most thorough clean. Scaling and root planing will remove the majority of the bacteria, while the laser can clear away diseased tissue for healthier gums.
Patients with advanced gum disease might require more intensive treatment to prevent tooth loss and restore their health. As a periodontist, Dr. Bloch stays up to date on all advances in gum disease treatment and can offer the latest and most effective gum treatments.
Preventing Periodontal Disease At Home
Routine at-home oral care and twice-yearly professional cleanings are the best defense against gum disease. We strongly encourage you to brush your teeth in the morning and before going to bed and floss once a day to clean away food and bacteria your toothbrush can miss.
Our team may have additional recommendations for you based on your individual risk factors. Smoking, pregnancy and certain medications have been linked to gum disease. We can help evaluate your personal risk for gum disease and recommend how to further reduce the chances of gum problems.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Although anyone who does not regularly brush and floss is at risk for developing periodontitis, people who are more susceptible to gum infection include:
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients with crooked teeth
- Patients with fillings that need to be replaced
- Women during periods of significant hormonal fluctuation (such as during pregnancy, menopause or new contraceptive use)
- Patients who use medications that dry their mouths
- Patients with HIV/AIDS
Research has also found evidence of a genetic link for periodontal disease. Adults whose parents had gum disease are at an elevated risk.
Gum Disease Treatment Costs
The price for periodontal care depends on the specific treatments utilized to improve the health of your gums. Because preventing and reversing gum disease is considered essential care, most dental insurance policies cover at least some of the cost of periodontal treatments. Patients with periodontal issues who do not have dental insurance can benefit from our Annual Care Plan, which is a membership that offers significant savings on standard and periodontal treatments. Financing options are also available through CareCredit.
Periodontal Treatment Testimonials
“Coming here has been a life-changing experience. When I started my treatment, I was about to lose all my teeth due to periodontal disease. After one year of treatment, Dr. Breziner told me I am no longer in danger of losing my teeth. I was so amazed and grateful! Best dentist and team in La Jolla and all of San Diego.”Juan N.
“I hadn’t been to the dentist since getting out of the Marine Corps and was far overdue. Dr. Breziner suggested we do a deep cleaning [scaling and root planing] to remove plaque from my gums and the hygienist ensured I was not in pain. Each employee I have dealt with has been completely professional and very friendly. I have found my dentist!”Jacob Y.
“I had my teeth cleaned and they hygienist noticed some bleeding on my gums. They used a laser technique [laser gum therapy] — no pain — to fix this problem. Now I have perfect teeth and gums! I give five stars.”Nancy S.
Learn More About Gum Disease
Gum disease is among the most common of oral health problems. For more on the general dentistry services that can keep your entire mouth healthy, or to find out more about gum treatments including laser dentistry, please contact La Jolla Family Smile Design. We proudly serve the San Diego community from our La Jolla office.
Periodontal Treatment FAQs
How does gum disease cause bad breath?
Bad breath is a common symptom for patients with gingivitis or periodontitis. Unfortunately, patients who have gum disease-related halitosis cannot simply correct this symptom with mints, mouthwash or toothbrushing because the source of the odor is generally plaque trapped beneath the gumline. To restore odor-free breath, patients should seek periodontal treatment from a dentist.
Should I stop flossing if my gums are bleeding?
Although you may assume that blood on your floss is a sign that you are flossing too roughly, this is not correct. Blood is an indication that your gums are becoming infected and need more attention. Continue flossing every day and if bleeding does not subside, schedule an appointment with your dentist for treatment.
What is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. At La Jolla Family Smile Design, we have a periodontist, Dr. Garry Bloch, as part of our team. His expertise helps patients to restore strong, healthy gums.