Going to the dentist should never feel bad. Find out how our dentists help patients just like you prevent gum disease — and our gentle and high-tech approach to gum disease treatments.
What exactly is gum disease?
This is what is more commonly known as gum disease.
At Austin Dental, we often see patients who have:
- Gingivitis – Earlier stage of inflammation that’s often easily treatable and reversible
- Periodontitis – Advanced and chronic infection that may eventually lead to tooth loss
Our dentists specialize in the early detection of gum disease and offer a variety of minimally invasive and comfortable treatments that work to restore gum health.
How do I prevent gum disease?
The good news is that with at-home brushing and flossing habits, you can greatly reduce your risk of gum disease. However, there is a genetic component and other lifestyle factors can increase your risk as well.
In addition to home care, it’s essential to keep up with your exams and cleanings. During dental cleanings, the bacterial buildup is removed from the gumline where it can be difficult to get rid of by brushing alone.
During a dental exam, your dentist will assess your gum health and take measurements of gum tissue. This allows them to track your gum health over time. It’s the best way to catch gum disease early when it is the most treatable.
At-home gum disease prevention tips
- Use an electric toothbrush with soft bristles. Hold it gently at an angle against the gumline — ask your hygienist for tips!
- Floss or use a waterpik daily.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco products. Both create an environment where bacteria can thrive.
- Eat a diet low in refined sugars (including fruit juice). Bacteria feed on simple sugars.
- Get plenty of Vitamin C. It can help ward off gingivitis.
How does gum disease hurt my oral health?
Inflamed gums can be quite painful and bleed — particularly after brushing or flossing. In addition, those affected by gum disease may notice swollen or puffy gums and chronic bad breath.
In advanced cases, dying gum tissue may cause teeth to feel “loose”. In fact, gum disease is the #1 preventable cause of tooth loss in adults.
Are the effects of gum disease limited to my oral health?
Unfortunately, no. Recent research is revealing more and more evidence about the oral-systemic connection. Bacteria enter the bloodstream through the gums and may lead to increased immune system response and even increased risk of:
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks
- Cancers, particularly stomach and esophageal cancers
- Diabetic complications
- Alzheimer’s disease
How is gum disease treated?
When gum disease is caught early, there are a variety of treatment options, including:
- Gingival/deep cleanings – Remove bacteria from above the gumline, often a great choice for those at risk of gum disease or those who have a history of gum disease
- Perio Protect – An easy and comfortable at-home treatment that uses specially formulated gel for use below the gum line to kill gum-disease causing bacteria and whiten teeth at the same time
Will I need surgery?
Gum disease surgery is an option we aim to avoid whenever possible.
Our goal is to identify the warning signs of gum disease and prevent infection from taking hold. By doing this, we’re able to help the majority of our patients avoid gum disease (including gum surgery and gum grafts).
If you’re worried about the possibility of gum disease, don’t wait to see a dentist you trust. The sooner you get checked out, the more options that will be available to you and the greater the chance you will have to avoid surgical gum treatments.
Expecting? Be on the lookout for pregnancy gingivitis.
Pregnancy gingivitis is very common as hormone levels change during pregnancy. Don’t miss a checkup or exam while pregnant. Be on the lookout for red, bleeding, or painful gums.
Come see us at Austin Dental!
Mary, one of our experienced hygienists says, “Bleeding gums are common but they are not healthy. How healthy do you want to be?”
If you’re ready to feel in control of your dental health and total body wellness, we can help. Whether you’ve experienced gum disease in the past or are looking for a proactive way to avoid the effects of gum disease, we have the gum disease treatments and preventive technologies you need.
We’re proud of our prevention-first approach to gum disease as well as our high-tech and conservative treatment options. Your health and comfort are our top priorities. See for yourself how we make going to the dentist a positive experience.
Read more about our new patient experience and what you can expect on your first visit.