50% of Americans have this disease

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study in 2009 and 2010 that measured the prevalence of periodontitis, familiarly known as gum disease, in American adults. The study CDCestimates that 47.2%, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe gum disease. For adults over the age of 65, rates increase to 70.1%.

Conclusion: Nearly half of American adults have gum disease.

How can gum disease affect you?
Gum disease can do irreversible damage if not treated and maintained. The plaque that that builds up between teeth and gums creates pockets that bacteria can get into, causing an infection in the gums. The infection can damage the bone and periodontal ligaments (PDL) that hold teeth in place and gums may begin to pull away from teeth. At the advanced stage of gum disease, teeth begin to shift, loosen and fall out because the PDL and bone that usually support the teeth are destroyed.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?Gum Disease

  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender
  • Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Pus that appears between your teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

At every check-up and cleaning, the hygienist and doctor measures the bone level and inspects gums for any pus, bleeding or inflammation.

How is gum disease treated?
The doctor or hygienist recommends a deep-cleaning to patients with gum disease. The hygienist scales the teeth by cleaning off the plaque above and below the gum surface and root planing which smoothes out the rough layers of the teeth. For two weeks after a deep cleaning, chlorhexidine mouth wash is used to kill bacteria so sensitive gums will heal. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease it is important to follow the recommendations of your hygienist. She may recommend one to two additional cleanings per year.

shutterstock_2243118-(Medium)-732845Prevent gum disease from affecting you.

  • There are simple steps that you can take to avoid developing gum disease.
  • Brush and clean between teeth with floss
  • Eat a well balanced diet and avoid sugary snacks

Get regular check-ups and cleanings. They are the best way to discover and treat early gum disease before it leads to a more serious problem.

Do you still have questions about gum disease? Contact our Sacramento Dentist.

Do You Really Want to Keep your Teeth? Deep Cleaning Explained.

Sacramento DentistOn a recent trip back to visit family I encountered my kooky Great Aunt, let’s just call her Ivy. Ivy is an all-round entertaining lady. She could keep you talking for hours and comes up with some of the most ridiculous things. Upon telling her that I work for a dentist she blurts out, “You don’t work for 1-800-Dentist, do you!?”

Well, no, we are not affiliated with them but I was curious what caused her outburst. Upon further examination she said that recently her and her husband went to the dentist and “would you buh-lieve they wanted $250 for a cleaning, per quadrant!?” I don’t need to tell you the conversation that ensued that ended in Aunt Ivy refuting everything I said with, “I DON’T GET PLAQUE ON MY TEETH!” An odd statement considering that every single person on the planet has plaque on their teeth. Oh, Aunt Ivy.

When plaque gets under the gums where you can’t see it and can’t clean it you start to get irritation and bleeding in your gums. This is the early stages of gingivitis. When you have gingivitis your hygienist will want to give you a deep cleaning. They might also want you to use a wash called Chlorohexidine. Three out of four adults have some form of gum disease.Sacramento Dentist

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Your body is working feverishly to clean your teeth and the interaction between the food and the saliva creates bacteria and acid. If nothing is done about this it can begin to erode your bone structure. The acid begins to drip down your teeth and starts to eat away at the bone that is holding on to your teeth. Acid. Pretty nasty stuff. It eats through everything, including bone.

Here’s the tricky part, until someone’s condition get very bad they have virtually no symptoms. If gum disease is caught in time it can be stopped and steps can be taken to improve your condition. But, sadly, bone loss is irreversible.

In addition to keeping your teeth from falling out, or getting loose, a deep cleaning will help permanent crowns and bridges adhere to your teeth and last longer. It might help take care of that bad breath, too.

A deep cleaning will take approximately three hours where as a regular cleaning without x-rays will only take about 50 minutes. You are numbed with anesthetic and the hygienist cleans off the roots of the tooth.

I know what you are thinking. You brush your teeth every day, you’ve never had a cavity, you floss every now and then and maybe you even believe that you don’t get plaque on your teeth. Good for you! But that doesn’t mean you can skip your regular teeth cleanings every six months. Hygienists have special tools that get heavy plaque off of your teeth. They also have the ability to see and reach things that you cannot.

Sacramento Dentist

Real Gateway Dental patient who received a deep cleaning. The patient was experiencing bleeding when brushing and flossing and had deep pockets of 5-6 millimeters (1-3 millimeters is great, anything more than 4 should require immediate attention).

The biggest mistake a patient can make is to not maintain a good hygiene program with the hygienist following the deep cleaning. After the cleaning your hygienist will want to see you three months later to clean the teeth again. More often than not it isn’t covered by insurance which is why many patients do not keep up on it. But, coming back every three months for a year will restore your gums to their better condition, will close the deep pockets created by the bacteria, and will help reduce the amount of bacteria that can get in there again.

If you were told you needed a deep cleaning, do not wait. Aunt Ivy will be sorry.

You can call 916-649-0249 if you have more questions and we’ll be happy to help you.

Q & A with the Dental Hygienist: Eight Ways to a Healthier Smile

Cosmetic Dentist Sacramento

1. What’s the biggest problem that you see with patients who come in terms of oral hygiene?

Most patients do not like to floss and think that it is no big deal.

2. How often should I brush and floss?

In an ideal world you should floss after every meal or snack. But, at least twice a day at morning and at night when that is not possible. The best time to loss is at night if morning is not possible because you do not want to leave remnants of food in between teeth to rot.

3. What are the benefits of flossing regularly?

Healthy gums, helps keep the teeth’s foundation of bone level, no bleeding, fresh breath, good check-ups, less cavities, less money to be spent on treatment because teeth are healthy, improves overall health of the body because the bacteria content that can cause heart problems is significantly decreased, decreased chance of bacteria between teeth being passed from mother to unborn child which leads to low-term newborns.

4. What are the dangers of not flossing on a regular basis?

I just mentioned that bacteria found in plaque can be passed from expectant mothers to their fetus. But there are studies that show a strong link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Not to mention that not flossing can lead to the loss of your teeth which could mean periodontal surgery and that costs money.

5. What is a deep cleaning and why would I have to get one?

A deep cleaning involves scraping the crown and root of the tooth to get rid of built up calculus and debris. Someone would need one if there are deep pockets between the gums and teeth and there is calculus present on the roots of the teeth.

6. What percentage of new patients that you see need a deep cleaning? Is it expensive?

Approximately 30-40% of the new patients that I see a month need a deep cleaning. It is expensive. But, have normal cleanings on a regular basis will eliminate the need for this type of invasive cleaning.

7. Why is flossing painful for patients? Will it always be painful?

Flossing is only painful for patients who have swollen gums, periodontal disease, or who only floss sometimes. Healthy gums do not hurt when flossed unless one is flossing incorrectly. Your hygienist can show you how to floss correctly.

8. Any other tips or products that you have for patients?

For patients who don’t like to floss with the string I highly recommend the Reach Flosser, it has a big handle so you don’t have to stick your hand in your mouth. At $3 a piece it is really affordable. The Air Flosser is a new device that can be used to floss. It costs about $70. Things like waters picks are good at removing plaque but does not replace flossing.