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Periodontal Dentistry in Los Angeles

Periodontics Is The Most Important Specialty To Keep Your Gums Healthy

Periodontics is the critical dental specialty of treating dangerous gum disease (aka periodontitis or periodontal disease). Healthy gums are pink, firm, and fit snugly around the teeth, which they hold in place on the jaw bone. In the initial stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, there is no pain, but if the gums bleed when they are brushed or flossed, if they turn dark red or appear inflamed and puffy, are tender, or seem to be pulling away from your teeth, this needs to be diagnosed and treated appropriately right away.

Professional Periodontal Dentistry

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of Americans have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, affecting 70 percent of those 65 and older. People with periodontal disease have 2.7 times more risk of having heart disease or a heart attack than the average person, and it also increases the risk for cancer, diabetes, premature and low-weight births, and dementia.

Gum disease usually develops if one hasn’t been brushing twice a day for two minutes in the correct way, as well as flossing once a day (most people have never learned the proper technique, so plaque, a bacterial film that forms around food that hasn’t been scraped away, develops; see our instructions on brushing and flossing).

This is especially important if one eats sugary foods or drinks sweet coffee, tea, or soda.

Without frequent cleaning of the surface of the teeth and at the gum line, plaque builds up and hardens into tartar that only a dental hygienist can remove with special tools. Unchecked, this will lead to the gums gradually pulling away from the teeth (gum recession) and they will fall out or need to be extracted. The other teeth naturally try to close up the space by leaning towards the empty socket and the resulting misalignment creates gaps where food can be trapped and hard to clean out, causing further infection.

Missing teeth need to be replaced with natural-looking dental implants or preventing the movement of other teeth into the empty space by having a dental bridge affixed.

 

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Periodontists can also improve your smile

The periodontal health team at Wilshire Smile Studio—including the dental hygienist, the general dentist, and the periodontist—can use a variety of tools and technologies to diagnose the health of your teeth, gums, and the underlying bone. In addition to training each patient in proper brushing and flossing and recommending a periodontal mouth wash, the hygienist will set up a schedule for regular cleaning at the office every few months, which can include scraping off tartar, deep irrigation with an antibacterial solution, insertion of antibiotic pellets into an infected area, and root planing.

 

The most advanced cases will require the use of a laser or surgical tools by the periodontist. During gum flap surgery, the gums are lifted back to allow tartar to be removed and then reattached to the teeth to reduce the chances of reinfection. Soft tissue grafts are sometimes taken from the gum of the roof of the mouth to reinforce thin gums. In other cases, a mesh fabric is inserted to stimulate bone and gum tissue to grow. Bone grafts use pieces of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone to restore the amount of lost bone needed to support the teeth properly.

 

If you feel you have an overly gummy smile—your teeth seem short compared with the amount of gum showing, for example—you may want the gums contoured (painlessly with a laser) to a more attractive ratio to the teeth. If the issue is not too much gum, but unusually short teeth or teeth that have had to be ground down to remove cavities, crown lengthening would be the solution. This involves removing some bone around the root to be able to put a crown on top that looks like a natural tooth. A gum graft can solve the opposite cosmetic problem, receding gums.

 

Call Wilshire Smile Studio for a periondontal health exam: 323-DENTIST (336-8478).

 

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