Gum disease is an infection of the gums by oral bacteria. It’s caused by poor oral hygiene. When bacteria build up between your gums and teeth, they form plaque, which hardens into tartar.
Then, these bacteria will begin attacking the healthy structure of your gums, causing inflammation, pain, and discoloration. If treated early, gum disease will not cause permanent damage to your teeth. But if it’s left untreated, it may result in irreversible damage to your teeth and gums.
If you think you may have gum disease, come see our periodontist, Dr. Lena, as soon as possible. She will evaluate your condition and help you with any necessary treatment planning if any issues are found.
Proper oral hygiene is the most important part of preventing gum disease. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes using proper technique, and floss once per day. Using a water flosser and antibacterial mouthwash can also help prevent gum disease.
It is also important to see Dr. Yoni, Dr. Lena, or Dr. Bean at Green Leaf Dental every six months for an oral exam and teeth cleaning. This will help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, and ensure we notice any early signs of gingivitis and gum disease.
Gingivitis is a term that refers to the first stage of gum disease. This stage of gum disease causes some symptoms such as inflammation of the gums but does not cause permanent damage to your teeth. It can be reversed with proper care.
In contrast, periodontitis (the second stage of gum disease) is not reversible. Its progression can be stopped and it can be treated, but you will never be able to permanently eliminate your gum disease. This is why it’s so important to get treatment for gum disease early.
The initial signs of gingivitis include bleeding when brushing and flossing, swelling and puffiness of the gums, gum discoloration (purplish, reddish, or dark gums), halitosis (bad breath) and spongy gums. As the disease progresses, the symptoms will continue to worsen.
More advanced stages of gum disease may have symptoms such as sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure, teeth that look longer due to gum recession, a change in how your teeth fit together, and the loosening of individual teeth. Other symptoms include pockets of pus forming between your gums and teeth and a foul taste in your mouth.
At Green Leaf Dental, our Seattle dentist will begin your treatment with a deep cleaning or “scaling & root planing.” This procedure involves scraping plaque and tartar away from between your teeth and gums and smoothing the roots of your teeth to remove bacteria. Along with antibiotic treatment, this is often enough to reverse gingivitis and treat most cases of gum disease. If you think you may have any of the signs of gum disease, take a proactive approach by coming in for periodontal care as soon as possible.
Crown lengthening is a cosmetic periodontal procedure that’s often done on patients who have a “gummy” smile, which is caused by excessive gum tissue covering up the structure of the teeth. This often makes the teeth look very small, and creates an unbalanced smile.
In the crown lengthening procedure, gum tissue is gently removed and the gums are sculpted to expose more of the natural portion of the tooth. This, in turn, creates a more balanced and appealing smile. If you are self-conscious about your teeth due to a gummy smile, crown lengthening may be a good option.
A sinus lift is a special type of bone graft that is used to prepare you for a dental implant in your upper jaw. The sinus lining is very close to the roots of your teeth and your jaw bone, so in the sinus lift procedure, the sinus is lifted gently while new bone material is packed into the jaw bone.
Then, the bone material encourages the healing of your jaw bone and strengthens the area, preparing it for the placement of a dental implant.
Guided bone regeneration is a type of guided tissue regeneration (GTR) used to keep your jaw bone strong after you’ve lost a tooth or had a tooth extraction due to periodontal disease.
In this procedure, a barrier membrane is placed to create a barrier between the rapidly-growing gum tissue, and the more slowly-growing bone tissue. This barrier prevents the growth of gum tissue, which would otherwise overwhelm the slow-to-grow bone tissue, and provides the bone with more time to regrow and become stronger.
Ridge preservation is typically done immediately after a tooth extraction at Green Leaf Dental. This method of guided bone regeneration involves the placement of external bone in the tooth socket, which is then covered up with gum tissue. This ensures the alveolar (jaw) ridge and tooth socket are strong enough to get a dental implant in the future.
Ridge augmentation, also known as “alveoloplasty” is sometimes required, as well. In this procedure, the ridges around the empty socket where your tooth used to be are reshaped to prepare for the placement of a dental implant.
Yes. We offer IV sedation for patients who are undergoing extensive periodontal procedures, or who are having their jaw bone rebuilt or preserved. Many of these surgical procedures are invasive, so sedation is a great way to ensure you do not feel any pain or discomfort while being treated.
IV sedation uses powerful sedatives that are delivered directly into your veins. This allows our dental team to easily control the level of sedation, and ensures it takes effect instantly. You will feel very groggy, and will likely fall asleep during treatment, and forget most of what happens during your procedure.
Unlike general anesthesia, however, you will remain conscious and you can be woken up, if necessary. You will also be able to breathe on your own without the assistance of a breathing machine. Contact us now to learn more, and see if you can be sedated during your treatment.