Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a more serious condition than many people realize and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. It is an infection that is the result of bacteria and plaque that build up below the gum line and lead to symptoms like tenderness, swelling, and bleeding gums.
The good news is that with proper preventive dental care at Los Gatos Family Dentistry, gum disease is highly preventable. If you do develop a gum infection, however, Dr. Patricia Phan and her dental team will provide the non-judgmental care and treatment to resolve it and protect your oral health.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Several factors contribute to making gum disease, also called gingivitis, so widespread, and one is that the symptoms can be so subtle that you may not notice them. In some cases, it is asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms to alert you to a problem.
Some common gum disease symptoms our Los Gatos patients should look for are:
- Puffy, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush
- Bad breath, even after using mouthwash
- Teeth that feel loose
- Gum recession
If you notice any of the above, there’s a good chance that you have gingivitis or periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease. It is crucial for us to treat gingivitis at Los Gatos Dentistry as soon as possible. Untreated, gingivitis advances to periodontitis, where you are at serious risk of tooth loss.
Los Gatos Gum Care: Scaling and Root Planing
Plaque and bacteria that build up beneath the gum line can cause the jawbone to start to break down, loosening teeth, and eventually leading to tooth loss. To treat gum disease at this stage, Dr. Phan provides a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing.
A deep cleaning procedure involves the removal of plaque and bacteria from the pockets that open up between your teeth and gums. This process allows your gums to reattach, stabilizes your teeth, and prevents further bone loss.
Some of the products we use in our Los Gatos gum care procedures include:
- Oraquix: The needle-free, liquid anesthetic we can apply when performing a deep cleaning procedure to make the patient more comfortable.
- Arestin: An antibiotic powder that we place in the gum pocket during or after a deep cleaning procedure. It is slowly released over 10 days and improves pocket depths more than deep cleaning alone.
- Dyclonine: This is a rinse that patients who have sensitive gums and teeth can use to numb their gums during their regular dental cleaning. The numbness wears off by the end of the appointment.
Schedule Your Next Dental Cleaning
With excellent oral hygiene at home and dental exams and cleanings every six months at Los Gatos Family Dentistry, we can help you avoid developing gingivitis. If you do have gum disease, however, we may recommend more frequent cleanings to monitor your condition and help avoid relapse.
Please call us today to schedule an appointment for your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.