The gums play an important part of oral and overall health. Scientific evidence now shows a strong link between gum disease (periodontal disease) and other serious systemic health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In addition, when the health of the gums is threatened, it can lead to tooth loss and other dental problems.
Anyone at a heightened risk of gum disease or experiencing symptoms of the early stages of gum disease in Encinitas should seek the expertise of Dr. Mark Galli. Catching gum disease early improves the chances of reversing it and rehabilitating the gums to complete health.
Gum disease is the result of an abundance of plaque in the mouth. Plaque, which is a sticky bacterial film, is constantly forming on the teeth. When plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, the body’s immune system tries to fight the bacteria, which causes the gum tissue to become inflamed. This inflammation can lead to swelling and bleeding, which are early symptoms of the mildest stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can also cause sensitivity and an irritated appearance or sensation.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, with the symptoms continuing to worsen. At this stage, the gum tissue may start to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets between the gums and teeth. Also, bacteria can damage the bone supporting the teeth. As a result, the teeth can become loose and may fall out or need to be extracted.
Gum disease raises the risk of serious health problems, including respiratory problems, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and premature births. Therefore, treating gum disease is imperative to overall health.
At the first indication of a problem, you are encouraged to schedule a dental exam with Dr. Galli. He will visually examine the gums and teeth, and may perform some testing to confirm the presence and extent of gum disease. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, these tests could include measuring the depth of the pockets between the gums and teeth or taking digital X-rays to examine the bone supporting the teeth. Once Dr. Galli has diagnosed gum disease, he can lay out the available treatment options and help you select a suitable course of treatment.
Dr. Galli’s objective with periodontal disease treatment is to control the infection and stop it from spreading. In the early stages of the disease, a series of professional deep cleanings can help to manage the problem. Deep cleanings, also referred to as “scaling” and “root planing,” involve cleaning and smoothing the roots of the teeth and removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line. If needed, Dr. Galli can administer a local antibiotic medication to the infected gum tissue. Diligent at-home oral hygiene practices are also important during this stage of treatment.
It is recommended to get maintenance cleanings every 3 to 4 months after the inflammation heals, to prevent its return. Many patients do not seek additional treatment after scaling and root planing, but the bacteria can repeat the process very quickly. Ongoing maintenance is critical to keep gums healthy.
If not treated early, gum disease could require surgery to reduce deep gum pockets or regenerate lost bone or gum tissue. Depending on the specific case, Dr. Galli may refer patients to a periodontist, or a dentist that specializes in the management and treatment of periodontal disease.
If loose teeth have fallen out or been extracted, Dr. Galli can recommend a replacement option, such as a dental implant or dental bridge.
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as red, tender or bleeding gums, it’s best to have them examined by Dr. Galli. Call our office today to make an appointment with the dentist.
When you visit Dr. Galli’s Encinitas dental practice, you can expect to be treated with respect, honesty and integrity. The objective of every visit is to establish an understanding of your particular oral health needs and goals, evaluate the potential treatments and select the most appropriate option.Learn More