Dental Tips Blog

Apr
17

What You Should Know About the Color of Your Gums

Posted in Gum Disease

We tend to think a little more about the color and health of our teeth. But your gums are just as important to pay attention to.

Is This Normal?

Gum color is determined in the same way your skin color is: genetics and melanin.

Gingival tissues range in hues from light pink to coral pink to tan to dark brown. Your gum color is probably similar to that of your parents’ since it’s hereditary. It’s not uncommon for some individuals to have a mix of colors. Yes, some people even have freckles on their gums!

Just because your gums don’t look exactly like the bright pink ones on the toothpaste package doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy and beautiful, too.

The Color You DON’T Want to See

A strong hint of red in your gum tissue is usually a bad sign. It indicates that your gums are irritated and inflamed with bacteria. You may have gingivitis or gum disease that requires gum treatment.  When plaque builds up in one area for too long, your gums react by causing their blood vessels to swell. This results in puffy red gums that are prone to bleeding. Blue or purple tissue is even worse!

How to Change the Color of Your Gums

If your gums are naturally dark-hued, it’s possible to get them lightened. Some dentists and gum specialists offer gum-bleaching procedures. A few people choose to lighten their gums simply because they prefer the look of white teeth against pink gums.

What can you do about gum inflammation? Visit your local dentist for a gum health assessment. A professional dental cleaning and some flossing tips will have your gum color back to normal again.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Apr
15

What is a Gum Disease Specialist?

Posted in Gum Disease

It’s very common for adults to be referred to a gum disease specialist. As you probably concluded, certain gum therapies and procedures require skills your general dentist may not have acquired.

Should you plan a visit to your local gum specialist?

Your Friendly Neighborhood Periodontist!

A gum specialist is widely recognized by the term ‘periodontist.’

Periodontists are dentists who received two to three additional years of training in gum health. He or she now practices exclusively in the field of diagnosing, treating, and preventing gum diseases. They are experts on causes of inflammation in the gums and often provide dental implant placement services.

Most dentists can provide the same periodontal therapy a periodontist can. But complex cases require more time and detail that only a specialist can provide.

When to See a Gum Specialist

Patients need to visit a periodontist because of reasons such as:

  • Complex health problems that make normal dental care challenging
  • Having gum reconstruction after illness or injury
  • Cosmetic smile enhancement via gum reshaping
  • Severe cases of gum disease in which teeth need to be stabilized
  • Needing some other form of gum surgery

You might choose to schedule an appointment with your local periodontist based on the recommendation of a good friend. This is especially true if you’re interested in a specific cosmetic or advanced procedure offered only by the gum specialist.

It’s usually best to consult your general dentist first. He or she will let you know whether a trip to another dental care provider is really necessary for you. You might be surprised to learn about just how many periodontal procedures can be done right there in your own office.

If you need to see a specialist, your dentist can give you the best recommendation.

Posted on behalf of:
Clearwater Dentistry
3006 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Clearwater, FL 33759
727-608-4361

Feb
9

4 Reasons Why Your Gums Are Receding

Do your teeth look longer than they used to? Do you suffer from sensitive teeth when you eat or drink something hot or cold? These are common symptoms of gum recession. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue wears away and exposes more of your teeth. Since your gums are the foundational support for your teeth, neglecting to treat receding gums can eventually lead to tooth instability and even tooth loss. Before treating your receding gums, it is important to determine the cause.

Here are some common culprits to gum recession:

Gum Disease: The most serious cause of gum recession is periodontal disease, which involves an infection in the gum tissues, causing them to recede or pull away from the tooth root. You will likely notice bleeding and swelling in the gums as well if you have gum disease.

Tobacco Products: Long-term use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco are known to cause receding gums.

Heredity: Some patients can blame their parents for their receding gums. As many as one third of Americans will suffer from dental problems that they inherited. Always discuss your family’s dental history with your dentist.

Brushing Too Hard: If you are overzealous in your brushing efforts, you may be doing more harm than good. Removing plaque, stains and bacteria doesn’t require vigorous brushing habits. Make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush and ease up on your strokes to protect your gums.

If you notice that your gums are receding, which typically develops on the front lower teeth, tell your dentist as soon as possible. Early and mild cases of gum recession can often be effectively treated with a deep cleaning. This removes any plaque and tartar along the gum line and tooth root and encourages the gums to reattach. Severe cases of gum recession may require a soft tissue graft.

Posted on behalf of:
Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

Feb
6

Can Mouthwash Cure Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

If a rinse could eliminate gum disease, then why are 80% of adults in the U.S. still suffering from some form of it?

Simply the fact that dentists, hygienists, and gum specialists aren’t yet out of work shows that a mouthwash doesn’t make it that easy.

What’s Behind Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of soft tissue disease. It happens when your gums react to plaque on the teeth. They get inflamed, puffy, sensitive, and bleed if they’re bothered.

Go a little deeper, however, and your in for a lot more trouble.

Gum disease usually refers to periodontitis – inflammation of the tissues supporting the roots of teeth. This includes bone and ligaments. Periodontitis sets in when gingivitis isn’t cleared up for good.

Once bacteria colonize inside of the shallow pockets around gums, it is almost impossible to reach them. The longer they thrive in your mouth, the deeper they’ll go as they break down the structures that hold your teeth in place.

Your Best Solution for Gum Disease

To access these germs, you’ll need the help of specialized tools. Your dental hygienist is your first line of defense. He or she has instruments that can disrupt bacteria, removed infected tissue, and cleanse the roots of affected teeth.

What Does Mouthwash Do?

An antimicrobial rinse will help you control bacteria levels in your mouth before they cause problems. It’s a great idea to supplement your brushing and flossing with a mouthwash. But it isn’t enough to reach the deep pockets of bacteria involved in established gum disease.

Visit your dentist to learn more about your risk for gum disease and what you can do to prevent it.

Posted on behalf of:
Columbine Creek Dentistry
4760 W Mineral Ave #60
Littleton, CO 80128

Jan
25

Gum Treatment Without Going Under the Knife

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease has been treated with surgery and mechanical cleanings for decades. A recent turn in tides of dentistry have more dental professionals investigating the possibility of laser technology for treating gum problems.

How does the laser method work?

Using Lasers to Treat Gums

Lasers are generally used for gums in two ways:

  1. To perform surgery or remove dead tissue around tooth roots
  2. To cleanse pockets infected with gum disease

What the laser is used for determines the strength of the energy beam. Lasers help reduce bacteria and bleeding which promotes gum healing. They are far more conservative than traditional scalpels. They also do a better job at removing dead tissue while leaving the healthy gum intact.

A Few Considerations

Laser periodontal therapy has not yet been accepted by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) as an acceptable standard of care for gum disease.

This doesn’t mean it isn’t safe. In the hands of an experienced gum expert, laser therapy won’t harm you. It’s just that as an up-and-coming technique, it needs more clinical data to back it up. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t work!

One key fact to keep in mind is that gum disease itself still requires the mechanical removal of rough deposits on tooth roots below the gum line. A laser can help remove gum tissue, but isn’t enough on it’s own to help you beat gum disease.

Is laser gum therapy available and regulated in the area where you live?

The only way to find out if it’s safe for you is to visit a professional like your local dentist. Get a gum evaluation to establish your dental health needs. Ask whether laser therapy is a treatment option.

Posted on behalf of:
Atencio Family Dentistry
3773 Baker Ln #3
Reno, NV 89509
(775) 829-8684

Jan
21

Prevent Gum Recession with 3 Methods

Posted in Gum Disease

Gums recede for a number of reasons. A lot of these have to do with your current oral health and genetic background, which can be impossible to prevent. Some causes, however, are things you do have control over.

  1. Practice Gentle Brushing

A life-long habit of aggressive brushing takes a definite toll on gums. Gums are very sensitive to pressure and will pull away from the tooth if they are scrubbed too hard.

Try swapping your toothbrush to your non-dominant hand. It will feel awkward, but this will force you to “think” about how to brush instead of just doing it by habit. Using a toothbrush with extra-soft bristles is also a good idea.

  1. Cut Out the Tobacco

If you use tobacco in any form, you can bet that it’s contributing to your receding gums.

Ingredients inside of and smoke associated with tobacco products are irritating to gum tissue and contribute to the development of gum disease. When you quit the habit, you’ll halt the advancing gum-loss.

  1. Get a Mouthguard

Your gums respond to pressure on your teeth. As teeth bite together, they put stress on the ligaments around them. This is normal, but if you clench your teeth too often, you’ll strain the gums around your teeth. A habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep can manifest itself in gum recession.

A dentist can set you up with a specialized mouthguard that will prevent your teeth from closing together all the way.

When your gums shrink away, your teeth look longer, yellower, and older. They’ll also probably become more sensitive and prone to decay. Besides all this, gum recession means less support keeping your teeth in place.

To get more help in combating recession, contact your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Moores Chapel Dentistry
9115 Samlen Lane #105
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 389-9299

Jan
21

What’s the Connection Between Your Gums and Your Heart?

Posted in Gum Disease

You may have heard that heart and gum health are closely related. Why are so many doctors and dentists talking about this link?

Emerging research strongly supports a direct connection between oral health and other problems in the body. In other words, your dental visits could be more essential than you think.

What the Research Shows

A specific cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease and heart disease has not yet been discovered. “Yet” is worth emphasizing because studies do show that there is definitely some type of a connection. People with gum disease (periodontitis) are at greater risk for developing heart problems.

Bacteria and inflammation seem to be the key players in the connection. Germs responsible for gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and cause a dangerous infection in the heart.

It seems that gum infection can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. When arteries become inflamed, they can build up the plaque responsible for forming blood clots.

Your gums are loaded with blood vessels, making them a gateway to your cardiovascular system. Thus, the connection between heart health and gum health is a strong one.

How to Promote Heart and Gum Health

Reduce harmful bacteria populations and inflammation in your mouth by:

  • Daily flossing and brushing
  • Visiting your dentist regularly
  • Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Giving up tobacco

Encourage heart and gum health through exercise, a nutritious diet, and plenty of rest. A preventative approach is far more cost-effective than treating heart and gum disease later on.

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in adults in the United States.

Can you lower your risk? Improving your oral health could be the key. Visit your dentist for a personalized consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Memorial Park Dental Spa
6010 Washington Ave Suite D
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 336-8478

Jan
10

Is Gum Disease Permanent?

Posted in Gum Disease

Do you love the gums you’ve got?

Maybe you haven’t given your gums much thought before, but you would be sorry if you lost them! Gum disease is a common and serious health problem for adults.

Gum Disease – Why a Big Deal

Affecting nearly 75% of Americans, gum disease occurs in various stages. You’ve probably heard a thing or two about gingivitis, the reversible form of gum disease. Gingivitis happens when your gums get irritated by the presence of plaque bacteria. Remove this plaque, and the inflammation goes away, too.

The term ‘periodontitis’ is a little less common. Periodontitis is irreversible. When a bacterial gum infection persists, the deeper layers of bone and ligaments below the gums get involved. This results in damage that can’t repair itself.

Put simply, periodontitis causes the breakdown of structures that hold your teeth in place. After your teeth lose this support, they fall out.

What You Can Do

If you’ve been told that you have gum disease, you can’t afford to ignore it any longer. It just can’t go away on its own. You need medical intervention to treat the infection at its source, far beyond the reach of toothbrush and floss.

Periodontitis is linked to other major health concerns such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Pregnancy complications

With so much at risk, you need to stop the progression of the problem while you can. If you’ve already experienced some irreversible damage from gum disease, your dental team will help you explore options for getting your smile back on-track with options like deep cleanings, medication, or surgery. Visit your dentist for a periodontal evaluation and screening.

Posted on behalf of:
Brentwood Dental Group
2440 S Brentwood Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63144
(314) 962-6643

Jan
9

Do You Really Need a Deep Cleaning?

Posted in Gum Disease

You could say that a normal dental cleaning is the car wash and a deep cleaning is the detailing procedure. However, when your dental health is involved, it’s a little more complicated than that.

What is a Deep Cleaning?

Medically-known as “scaling and root planing” or SRP, this treatment does more than simply get your teeth “extra clean.”

Scaling is the removal of tartar from teeth. Root planing means smoothing out the surface of tooth roots that are roughened with bacteria and tartar. These techniques are combined in a “deep cleaning” procedure. This treatment requires specialized dental tools and is often broken up into multiple appointments due to complexity.

Contrary to how it may sound, SRP is more of a medical treatment instead of a superficial, cosmetic one.

Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, which is gum inflammation in response to bacteria. As the bacteria spread, the inflammation worsens. Combine this with tartar buildup at and below the gum line, and you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Without medical intervention, gum disease will lead to tooth-loss. A deep cleaning is the medical standard for stopping the infection right in its tracks.

A Regular Cleaning Won’t Cut It!

To really nip the problem in the bud, you need a deep cleaning. Gum disease creates deep pockets of infected and damaged tissue around teeth. You can’t access these pockets with a toothbrush and floss, alone.

A deep cleaning might sound like a luxury dental treatment. But it’s actually a procedure that’s essential for anyone suffering from gum disease. Contact your dentist to schedule a gum health assessment to find out whether a deep cleaning is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Pristine Dental
555 Providence Hwy #2
Walpole, MA 02081
(508) 734-7056

Jan
8

Flossing and Gum Disease: The Connection

Posted in Gum Disease

Have you ever been told that you have gum disease?

Many Americans have been affected by gum disease at some point in their lives. So if you’ve had a run-in with gingivitis, you’ve got plenty of company!

Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the story for your teeth. With a routine of diligent flossing, you can keep your gums disease-free and happy. 

What Is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque.

Usually starting out as gingivitis, gum disease can progress to a serious form known specifically as periodontitis. Gingivitis is inflammation limited to the outer layer of gum tissue and is easily reversed. Periodontitis, on the other hand, affects deeper layers of ligaments and bone around the tooth roots. The damage caused by periodontitis cannot reverse itself.

How Flossing Helps

The spaces between your teeth are impossible to directly access with a toothbrush, alone. The problem is that those spots are where gum disease is likely to settle in first.

Here’s where flossing helps out.

A thin piece of floss or or even a water flosser can slip between teeth and break up the clusters of bacteria along the gum line. You need to physically remove the germs daily to keep them from triggering inflammation.

Because it’s the best way to prevent gum disease from developing between teeth, flossing is a pretty big deal! Cleaning your teeth doesn’t just help them look nice – it also helps you avoid expensive treatments or surgery later on.

To find out more about preventing gum disease, schedule your regular checkup every six months!

Posted on behalf of:
Timber Springs Dental
5444 Atascocita Road Suite 100
Humble, TX
(713) 244-8929

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