May 9th, 2019
At your local Syracuse orthodontist, we are not only concerned with the alignment of your teeth, but also our patients’ overall oral health. In fact, Drs. Callahan, Flanagan, Smith and Stock take particular interest in periodontal (gum) health. Our gums work as an essential protective layer for our teeth and ultimately, our entire mouth. Gums are actually pretty important! While treating your orthodontic needs with appliances like clear braces or Invisalign, our team will also check in on the periodontal health. It is our goal to provide the highest quality orthodontic care and give our patients the tools to prevent any future periodontal conditions.
What Are The Most Common Gum Conditions?
Unfortunately, periodontal conditions are quite common in adults, but they can be prevented. The main culprit for periodontal issues is bacteria. When bacteria in dental plaque is left untreated, it slowly deteriorates our gums and teeth, possibly leading to tooth loss. The most common types of periodontal conditions include the following:
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. Normal, healthy gums are pink in color, appear firm, and do not bleed from brushing or flossing. Gums with gingivitis may be quite red, swollen or inflamed, and bleed while brushing or flossing.
- Periodontitis: Periodontitis exhibits similar symptoms to gingivitis, but as it progresses it results in the loss of gum tissue and jawbone tissue. This can be concerning because gum tissue and jawbone tissue cannot be recovered once they are lost.
- Gum Recession: Gum recession occurs when the root of the tooth becomes exposed because of a lack of gum tissue. If a tooth root is exposed, it can become very sensitive, more prone to decay, and less aesthetically pleasing. Recession can be caused by teeth grinding, chewing tobacco, or brushing too aggressively.
- Gum Abscess: Gum abscess is the presence of a blister or a bump in the gum that contains an infection with pus. It is normally caused by bacteria located deep in the gum pocket. An abscess can create pain and swelling for the patient.
The Causes & Symptoms Of Gum Conditions
All periodontal problems stem from the accumulation of bacteria in the dental plaque on your teeth. Dental plaque is present on our teeth every day, it is the sticky film that forms throughout the day from eating and drinking. The issue starts when dental plaque is not removed and continues to build up on the teeth creating an environment for more dental plaque and bacteria to grow. When this is present, our gums respond with inflammation which can quickly lead to gum deterioration. Gum disease symptoms to look out for include redness, swelling, bleeding, pain, or consistent bad breath.
If a type of periodontal disease or recession is identified by either our orthodontic team or your family dentist, treatment options are available. First and foremost, a dental cleaning will be necessary to remove any built-up dental plaque around the gums and teeth. Specific oral hygiene instructions will be given to maintain gum health and decrease the presence of bacteria and dental plaque. If the damage is further along, as is the case with periodontitis, a more thorough cleaning will be necessary to address the pockets of the gums and roots of the teeth. Depending on the individual patient, medication may be necessary. Lastly, there are gum surgeries available to preserve the existing gums and remove dead tissue and possibly teeth.
How To Prevent Gum Disease
At CFSS Orthodontics, we want to equip our patients with the tools to prevent any type of gum problem. We recommend the following practices:
- A proper dental hygiene routine, brushing and flossing effectively every day. And, if you have orthodontic appliances like braces, clear braces or Invisalign, take extra time to ensure your teeth are cleaned properly, especially in the hard to reach areas.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, while avoiding highly sugared and fatty foods.
- Visit your orthodontist and dentist for all regular checkups.
Contact Your Syracuse Orthodontist Today!
If you are concerned about your periodontal health, never hesitate to ask our orthodontic team in Syracuse, Fulton, and Fayetteville. We can help identify problem areas and where to brush a little extra, especially with orthodontic appliances. We understand that it can be different to brush and floss with clear braces or Invisalign, that’s why our team is here to help. To schedule your next orthodontic appointment, contact our office directly or request an appointment online. Together, we will ensure you have healthy gums and teeth for life!