Los Angeles dentist helps patients address gum disease
Have you ever brushed your teeth and noticed a little bit of blood in the sink? That is a common sign of gum disease but one that most people overlook. Dr. Mungcal is a trusted Los Angeles dentist who has helped many patients address gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. He helps patients learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for gum disease. Here’s an easy way to remember it: Healthy Gums Don’t Bleed!
According to a recent study from the CDC, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years old and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease increases with age. 70.1% of adults 65 years old and older have periodontal disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease starts with bacteria in the mouth. We all have it! The bacteria can be found on the plaque on your teeth and begins to feed on that plaque/build-up, causing it to swell. That is when most individuals notice that their gums will bleed while brushing. That leads to gingivitis – inflamed gums. If not addressed at this stage, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis (gum disease) as the gum begins to pull away from the teeth, forming an open pocket that continues to damage both the gums and the teeth.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque is the typical cause of gum disease; however, it can also be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause, illness such as diabetes, medications that decrease the amount of saliva in the mouth, and family history.
Symptoms of gum disease
Gum disease can begin and progress without causing pain or any apparent signs. However, specific symptoms often point to a form of gum disease, including:
- Bleeding, red, sore, or inflamed gums
- Gums that are receding
- Bad breath that will not go away
- Teeth that feel loose or are beginning to shift
- Changes in your bite or the way dentures or other oral appliances fit
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, call your dentist for an oral exam. Your dentist will do an exam to check for bleeding or swelling of the gums, tooth movement, proper alignment or sensitivity, and the health of your jawbone.
Treatment for gum disease
If you do have gum disease, it is essential to know that it can be treated. However, the earlier gum disease is caught, the easier and faster the treatment will be.
- Treating gingivitis usually includes things like a professional cleaning by a trained hygienist and better oral health care habits at home – flossing and using an electric toothbrush. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic mouthwash to kill the bacteria in your mouth.
- Treatment for more advanced stages of periodontitis can include a deeper cleaning of the teeth and gums in which the gums are lifted away from the teeth, and the pockets are thoroughly cleaned, removing all plaque/tartar build-up. We are now incorporating a brand new laser treatment process for folks with gum disease. Other treatments can include gum grafting to restore areas of the gum that may have receded.
- Regularly scheduled cleanings. The old standard was every six months. Recent studies are now showing that certain strains of bacteria can return in as little as 30 days. The new standard is soon to become every 3-4 months for a cleaning.