Have you ever gone to clean your teeth, only to find that a swipe of the toothbrush or a wiggle of your dental floss makes your gums bleed? Or maybe you look at your smile in the mirror and feel like something is off — maybe the color of your gums, but you can’t be sure.
These are pretty common occurrences, but they’re also often-missed indications that you have gum disease. This infection of the tissue surrounding your gums affects roughly half of all Americans, and it is potentially very serious. In fact, it’s the most common cause of tooth loss among adults in the U.S.!
But there is some good news: Gum disease is both preventable and treatable with the help of highly skilled dental professionals. At Dental Images of Oklahoma City, we use state-of-the-art technology and game-changing reparative treatments to undo damage caused by gum disease.
Dr. Layton has been practicing in Oklahoma City, OK for nearly 30 years, and he is always working to find ways to better serve his patients. He’s constantly learning about new tools and techniques he can use to improve treatment!
Read on to learn about four ways we can work together to save your smile from periodontal disease. Then, give our office a call at 405-395-2283 to schedule an appointment.
1. Commit To Routine Dental Checkups And Cleanings.
Let’s start with some basics. Gum disease is an infection caused by plaque, or a sticky film of bacterial buildup, along the gumline. In the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, your immune system responds to the presence of this harmful bacteria by increasing blood flow to the area.
This results in tenderness and swelling of the gingival, or gum, tissue. Sometimes, gingivitis will also cause your gums to bleed when you brush or floss. If you’re experiencing this kind of bleeding, you’re either cleaning your teeth too aggressively or you have gum disease.
Gingivitis is generally easy to cure, but unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have it.
That’s why routine checkups — once every six months, or as recommended by your dentist — are important! They give us an opportunity to catch these early signs before gum disease progresses into periodontitis, a more aggressive form of infection.
These appointments also allow us to remove any plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that has accumulated since your last visit, which will better deter infection.
2. Floss Daily.
There has been some debate in recent years about whether flossing actually does anything for your oral health. But the American Dental Association maintains that flossing once a day with proper technique can help lower your risk of periodontal disease when paired with other healthy dental care habits.
So, what is proper technique? The goal of flossing is to remove stray food particles and plaque from along and just below your gumline. With this in mind, you should gently guide the floss between your teeth and then curve the floss in a “C” shape against the sides of the tooth, including where the tooth meets the gums. You should take care not to snap the floss into place.
If you want to know more about proper flossing technique, the American Dental Association has a useful step-by-step guide you can view here.
3. See Your Dentist For A Deep Cleaning.
Sometimes, regular flossing and a routine cleaning aren’t enough to eradicate infection. In this case, Dr. Layton usually recommends a more intensive — but still gentle — treatment: a deep cleaning paired with an antibiotic regimen.
First, we’ll perform a scaling and root planing procedure, in which we carefully remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline and then smooth out the roots of teeth to prevent future bacterial buildup.
Then, we can prescribe a treatment called Perio Protect®. This system uses customized trays to deliver infection-killing antibiotics into periodontal pockets.
4. Repair A Receded Gumline.
When aggressive gum disease occurs, a healthy gumline often falls victim to recession. When gum tissue that protects your tooth roots disappears, it leaves the bony structures that support your teeth vulnerable to decay and infection. This can lead to eventual tooth loss.
So, it’s important to repair your gumline if it’s been damaged by recession.
At most other dental practice, this is done with a gum graft procedure, which involves removing a small amount of healthy tissue (usually from the roof of the mouth) and securing it over the gumline with sutures. But at Dental Images of Oklahoma City, we’re able to offer a minimally invasive alternative to gum grafting called the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique!
With this revolutionary treatment, we’re able to restore a healthy gumline without any surgical cutting or sutures. Dr. Layton has received special certification to offer this procedure, which can be completed in as little as an hour. It’s so gentle that most patients make a full recover within 24 to 48 hours!
Let’s Work Together Toward A Healthier Smile