Gum disease is a serious but, unfortunately, quite common oral health problem that affects nearly half of adults age 30 and over. What’s quite concerning is that the condition can snowball and cause all sorts of serious problems, not all of which are dental.
Dr. Ali Saeghi is a highly respected dentist with many years of experience providing routine dental care and specialty care, including procedures like dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, and InvisalignⓇ treatment. He approaches each patient as an individual and tailors treatment to address your specific symptoms and meet your goals if you want a more dazzling smile in addition to a healthy smile. He and the staff at Modern Age Dentistry treat gum disease — and other dental issues — at their offices in West Hills, Los Angeles, and Ojai, California.
Gum disease: gingivitis versus periodontitis
Early stage gum disease is known as gingivitis; a hallmark of the condition is swollen gums that feel tender and bleed easily. The discomfort isn’t bad at this stage, and the problem is reversible if you get professional treatment from Dr. Saeghi and take excellent care of your teeth at home, brushing and flossing regularly.
When gum disease becomes more advanced, it’s called periodontitis, and the ramifications of the condition become more serious. Several things are at play to make this progression happen:
- Plaque (sticky bacteria) begins to grow beneath your gumline
- The bacteria aggravate the gums
- Your body’s inflammatory response leads to loose teeth and deteriorating jawbone
When you have periodontitis, your gums actually separate from your teeth, and the pockets that form between them often become badly infected. This fuels further destruction of your bone and gum tissue. You may experience tooth loss or need to have teeth extracted.
Advanced gum disease symptoms are impossible to ignore and cause great discomfort. In addition to loose or lost teeth, you may experience:
- Gum pain that worsens
- Gum redness and increasing inflammation
- Worsening bleeding when you brush, floss, or eat
- Mouth sores
- Chronic bad breath
- Bite changes
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Gum recession, in which the gums pull away from your teeth, making them look longer
There’s no question that gum disease becomes nightmarish for your oral health, but it also has worrisome impacts on your overall health.
Gum disease’s effects on your overall wellbeing
Your gums stand guard, in a way, and protect your body from harmful bacteria. Taking good care of your teeth and gums ensures that they remain tightly sealed around your teeth.
When the gums degrade as a result of advanced gum disease, you’re at higher risk for serious health problems:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Low birthweight babies
- Premature birth
The severity and stage of gum disease are major determinants in what treatment a patient receives.
Treatment options for gum disease
Scaling and root planing procedures are treatment options for those whose periodontitis hasn’t progressed too far.
When you visit Modern Age Dentistry for these treatments, Dr. Saeghi essentially performs a deep cleaning in your mouth. During tooth scaling, he removes harmful bacteria-fueled tartar (hardened plaque) from the surface of your teeth, while root planing involves getting tartar off the roots of our teeth, below the gumline.
He may also recommend antibiotics if you have gum pockets. These can be taken orally, or he might place small antibiotic particles that work over time in the pocket.
Unfortunately, sometimes these treatments aren’t enough, and surgery may be the only solution. Dr. Saeghi performs flap surgery, during which he makes small cuts in your gums that allow him to lift away gum tissue so he can access the tissue that needs to be cleaned. Afterward, he sutures the gum tissue back in its original position.
Some patients require gum or bone graft surgery, during which Dr. Saeghi takes tissue or bone from another location in your mouth and mends the portion of your gum or jaw that gum disease has damaged.
If you notice any signs of early gum disease, or you’ve put off addressing more serious symptoms, don’t put your health at risk any longer. Call Modern Age Dentistry to book an appointment with Dr. Saeghi. You may also book appointments online.