San Antonio, Texas
Periodontics is a major subdivision of dentistry focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease (known as periodontal disease or periodontitis in the dental community). Dr. Hale in San Antonio, Texas, is proud to excel in this area of dentistry, because it is particularly important not just to the dental health of his patients but to their general health as well.
Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis
There are two phases of gum disease:
Gingivitis is the early stage, when plaque buildup is hardening into tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. It has tiny sharp edges which hide the bacteria that cause the gums to bleed when you do brush. At this stage, teeth are still firmly in place and bone deterioration hasn’t yet occurred. If we can catch gum disease at this stage, we can prevent it developing into periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. The gums are now separating from the teeth and enlarged pockets of bacteria are forming in the gaps. If left untreated, this will progress indefinitely; eventually teeth will become loose and can fall out.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- A loose tooth or teeth (or ones that have changed position in your mouth)
- Bad breath
- Changes in your bite
- Gums which bleed during brushing or flossing
- Poorly fitting dentures
- Receding gums
- Red, sensitive, sore, or swollen gums
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
If left untreated, gum disease may lead to more complicated health problems such as:
- Heart attack
- Premature/underweight babies (for pregnant women with gum disease)
- Respiratory diseases
- Tooth loss
Causes of Gum Disease
The biggest cause is poor dental hygiene. Some people are also vulnerable for additional reasons, and some extra causes are:
- Changes in your mouth from hormones such as those from puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
- Habits such as clenching or grinding your teeth which can also lead to TMJ/TMD
- Some medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease
- Reduced saliva flow whether from medications or dry mouth syndrome, which happens more among seniors
If Dr. Hale determines that you have gum disease he will examine the cause and help you eliminate it. He will then create a treatment plan with you to maintain your gum health.
Types of periodontic treatment Dr. Hale may recommend include:
- Nonsurgical gum treatment
- Tissue regeneration – restores the bone tissue in the jaw if some of it has deteriorated. Soft tissue grafts may also be employed to strengthen gum tissue.
- Pocket elimination surgery – reduces the gaps (pockets) between teeth and gums. Dips in the gumline of the jawbone may also be straightened and smoothed out to eliminate breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Laser therapy – reshapes the gum line and reduces pockets where bacteria may spread and thrive.
If you are concerned about your gums, don’t be afraid. The best course of action is to contact us today. Dr. Hale in San Antonio, Texas, is experienced in the field of periodontics and will develop a treatment plan to get you on the road to better oral health!