Gum Disease


A patient receiving a cleaning in order to avoid Gum Disease in Vancouver WAThe American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily and have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year. These oral care habits are essential for keeping your mouth healthy. When you ignore your oral care routine, your risk of developing gum disease increases significantly. Gum disease is a progressive condition that begins when a buildup of plaque and oral bacteria attack your gums.

The gums become irritated and inflamed. This early stage of gum disease, while easily treated, is the hardest to recognize. Symptoms often go unnoticed, and the disease continues to grow worse. Your gums pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and begin attacking your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. This causes these structures to weaken, which loosens your teeth. Eventually, you may even be faced with tooth loss. At Oasis Dental, we can assess the condition of your gum disease and provide you with the appropriate treatment to restore your oral health.

What Causes Gum Disease?


One of the most common causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Whether you occasionally skip a brushing or flossing session, only have your teeth cleaned and examined once a year, or completely ignore your oral care routine altogether, your risk of developing gum disease significantly increases. Poor oral hygiene is not the only cause. Other causes of gum disease include:

•  Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking.
•  Alignment issues with your teeth. Crooked teeth are often more difficult to keep clean.
•  Certain types of medications. Some medications can cause dry mouth, which creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth.
•  Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause.
•  Nutritional deficiencies. When you are missing certain nutrients, your gums are more vulnerable to bacterial attack.

Symptoms to Watch For


The earliest symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush and floss. However, these symptoms are often unnoticed or ignored, thought to be the cause of brushing too hard or flossing too aggressively. As a result, gum disease is allowed to worsen, which brings about other symptoms. These symptoms include:

•  Bad breath that will not go away, no matter how much you brush or how many mints you consume.
•  Gum recession, which can lead to tooth sensitivity when the roots are exposed.
•  Loose teeth.
•  Your teeth shift out of natural alignment, throwing off your bite.
•  Tooth loss.

How is Gum Disease Treated?


Treatments for gum disease vary based on the severity of your condition. Treatments include such things as:

•  Scaling and root planing. This is a deep cleaning of your teeth that involves eliminating all buildup from the visible surfaces of your teeth as well as along the roots.
•  Laser treatment. If the gums are too swollen to effectively perform scaling and root planing, a special laser may be used to remove that infected gum tissue, making treatment possible. Lasers can also be used to eliminate bacteria from periodontal pockets.
•  Periodontal maintenance. This treatment is a series of regularly scheduled exams and cleanings of your teeth following gum disease treatment. These visits are done to ensure that your gums are healing.
•  Pocket reduction surgery. This surgical procedure is done when the pockets are too deep to thoroughly clean. The roots and surrounding jawbone are exposed and cleaned before being sewn back up against the teeth.
•  Grafting. Soft tissue grafts are done to restore a more natural gum line after gum recession. Gum grafts can also alleviate sensitivity by covering up exposed roots. Bone grafts are often done following tooth loss to restore missing bone mass and prepare your mouth for dental implants.

Treating gum disease is essential for preventing serious issues and restoring your oral health. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Oasis Dental today at (360) 836-1100.
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Matthew Aldridge, DMD
Oasis Dental
16500 SE 15th St, Suite 180
Vancouver, WA 98683 MAP

(360) 836-1100

Office Hours:
Monday: 8am–5:30pm
Tuesday: 8am–8pm
Wednesday: 7am–8pm
Thursday: 7am–3pm

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