Gingivitis: What a Dentist in Walnut Creek Wants You to Know

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Gingivitis refers to the mildest form of periodontal disease (gum disease). The dental plaque-induced form of gum disease is fairly common and frequently occurs due to a buildup of bacteria-filled plaque on the teeth. Although gingivitis itself does not cause any permanent damage to the gum tissue, if left untreated, this disease can progress to a more serious form of periodontal disease, periodontitis. Periodontitis causes permanent damage to the gum tissue and can lead to tooth loss. Seeking treatment from a dentist in Walnut Creek, California, at the first sign of a problem is recommended.

A Dentist in Walnut Creek Will Recognize the Signs of Gingivitis

For patients with a very mild form of periodontal disease, there may be no noticeable symptoms or discomfort; however, it will be detected at their next dental cleaning and checkup because their dentist in Walnut Creek knows the signs to look for.

For those who do experience symptoms, gingivitis causes swelling, redness and irritation of the gingiva, which is the portion of the gum at the base of each tooth.

Some other signs and symptoms include:

  • Gums that look purple.
  • Consistent bad breath.
  • Gums that are tender and hurt when they are touched.
  • Bleeding occurs while brushing and flossing.
  • Soft gums.
  • A receding gum line.

If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms listed above, contact your dentist in Walnut Creek, California, at Pope Dental at 925-939-4989 to schedule an appointment. The sooner care is sought, the better chance the patient has at preventing the disease’s progression.

If the disease does progress, so will the patient’s pain level: The patient may need to seek medication for pain relief from a dentist in Walnut Creek, California.

How the Buildup of Plaque Leads to Gingivitis

Since the main cause of gum disease is plaque buildup, which results from poor oral hygiene, following a strict oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing and flossing every day can help prevent the onset of the disease.

How gingivitis develops:

Plaque is created — plaque is a sticky, invisible biofilm that consists mainly of bacteria. This film is created when food debris, especially carbohydrates like sugar, remaining in the mouth is consumed by the bacteria that are normally found there. Decreasing the amount of food debris and carbohydrates in the mouth can reduce the amount of plaque that is created and builds up.

Plaque becomes tartar (calculus) — when plaque remains on the teeth, it hardens into tartar. This tartar forms at the gum line, where it collects bacteria. Once it accumulates here, removing plaque through brushing and flossing becomes more difficult. Furthermore, the tartar creates a protective shield for the bacteria. At this stage, the tartar may begin irritating the patient’s gum line. Once tartar forms, it can only be removed by a dental professional, which is why biannual cleanings are recommended.

The gingiva swells — the longer the tartar and plaque are allowed to remain on the teeth, the more likely they are to begin irritating the gingival tissue (gum tissue) that surrounds the base of each tooth. This irritation is what causes the inflammation. As time passes, the gums become more inflamed, bleed easily and tooth decay may result. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more advanced form of gum disease. A gum disease like periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. Seeking treatment early on from a dentist in Walnut Creek, California, can prevent disease progression.

How Dental Plaque-Induced Gingival Disease Leads to Tooth Loss

As the plaque builds up and the bacteria continue multiplying, they begin building up beneath the gum line and the body’s immune response is activated. As the gum tissue is destroyed by the toxins produced by the bacteria, further complications, including tooth loss, may result. To prevent tooth loss, visiting Pope Dental at the first sign of gingivitis is vital. Dr. Scott Pope, who a top cosmetic dentist in Walnut Creek, and his experienced hygienists can address the gum disease to prevent tooth loss. To make an appointment call 925-939-4989 today.

The numerous risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Since a vitamin C deficiency is linked to the development of gum disease, a poor diet can lead to gum disease.
  • If an individual’s parent has had gingivitis, his or her risk of developing the disease increases. It is believed that this risk factor is related to the type of bacteria an individual acquires early in life.
  • The risk of developing periodontal disease increases with age.
  • People who smoke on a regular basis develop gingivitis more frequently than those who do not.
  • Some antianginal and anticonvulsant medications may cause abnormal gum tissue growth, which could lead to the development of periodontal disease.
  • Saliva helps to wash away food particles in the mouth; therefore, medications that cause a decrease in saliva production (dry mouth) can contribute to the development of this disease.

Certain diseases put an individual at a higher risk for developing gingivitis, these diseases include:

  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • HIV.

Diagnosing Gingivitis

An oral hygienist or dentist in Walnut Creek, California, will look for signs of gum disease. X-rays may be taken, the pocket depths of the gum tissue around each tooth may be measured and some gentle probing may occur.

Treating Gum Disease

Caught early, the dentist and oral hygienist will work together to reverse the disease. This will be accomplished through dental cleanings, addressing any dental issues, as well as by instructing the patient on practicing proper oral care through the use of effective brushing and flossing techniques.

The patient will need to implement a rigorous daily oral hygiene routine at home that includes brushing and flossing: Brush twice a day in two-minute intervals (preferably with an electric toothbrush), floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash at least once daily. Follow-up appointments and more frequent cleanings may be recommended.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Cleanings and checkups every six months at with a dentist in Walnut Creek, California, as well as following a strict daily oral hygiene regimen at home can help prevent gingivitis. Healthy eating is essential to preventing the onset of gum disease. Furthermore, individuals who have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease; therefore, it is vital that they manage their glucose levels. Individuals who have problems like crooked teeth or badly fitted dental prostheses should have these problems addressed because they make removing plaque and tartar more difficult.

Left Untreated: Potential Complications

Without treatment, gum disease can affect the bones, teeth and tissues.

Some complications are:

  • A more serious form of gum disease that may cause loss of teeth and bone (periodontitis).
  • Recurrent gum disease.
  • An infection or abscess of the jaw bone or the gum tissue.
  • Trench mouth, which is a condition where a bacterial infection causes ulceration of the gingival tissue.
  • Furthermore, several studies indicate that gum diseases, like periodontitis, can contribute to cardiovascular diseases and lung disease.

If you think you have gum disease, you need to make an appointment with a dentist is Walnut Creek. Whether you need a cleaning, checkup or cosmetic dentistry, Pope Dental can help. Please contact the Walnut Creek, California, office today at 925-939-4989. Pope Dental is located at 1844 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 200.

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