How to Prevent the Gum Disease Known as Ginigivitis

At Long Beach Dental Health, we believe that when it comes to your mouth’s health, it’s not only about having straight, white teeth. Having healthy gums is also a huge part of your oral well-being. Even if you are cavity free, it doesn’t always mean your gums are healthy. 

One form of gum disease is called Gingivitis. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously as it can lead to much more serious gum issues, like periodontitis and tooth loss, if left untreated. 

What is Gingivitis? 

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. It commonly occurs because a film of plaque accumulates on the teeth. There are typically two types of gingivitis: 

  • Dental plaque-induced gingival disease: This type of gingivitis can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medication or malnutrition
  • Non-plaque induced gingival lesions: This can be caused by specific bacterium, virus, or fungus. It might also be caused by genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or foreign bodies such as dentures. 

When plaque is not removed adequately, it can harden into tartar near the base of the teeth, near the gum. This has a yellowish color and can only be professionally cleaned and removed. This type of plaque and tartar irritates the gums, causing inflammation, which typically leads to the gums bleeding. 

How do I Know if I Have Gingivitis? 

Gingivitis is fairly common, and anyone can develop it. Symptoms of Gingivitis include: 

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Wiggly teeth
  • Gums that bleed easily

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. If Gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral issues. 

How to Prevent Gingivitis.

The number one way to prevent Gingivitis is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice for at least two minutes a day and flossing at least once a day. Using an electric toothbrush can also help as they are better equipped to remove plaque in hard to reach places. 

Visiting your dentist twice a year (every six months) to get a professional cleaning is another great way to prevent gum disease. Dentists and hygienists are able to remove plaque and tartar buildup that toothbrushes don’t always get. 

Improving your overall health can also help prevent gingivitis. Improving your diet and managing your blood sugar are great for your gums. 

We are here to help you and support you with all of your oral health needs. If you think you could have signs of gingivitis call our Long Beach, CA office today at (562) 597-7830.  We are always happy to answer any questions you have and can schedule you for a visit. 

Gum Disease Treatment Learn More About Periodontal Disease Stages

Veneers vs. Crowns — Which Option Is Right For You?

Veneers and dental crowns are both used as a way of improving the appearance of your teeth. Each of these, created to match the color of your teeth (or to the color you desire), help with discoloration, gaps, chips, and cracks in your teeth. The main difference between each is that a veneer covers only the front of your tooth while a crown covers the entire tooth. Which option is right for you?

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are extremely thin shells, usually made out of porcelain, that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth. Veneers are much less invasive, and usually less expensive, than dental crowns. Dental veneers involve fixing a thin covering over the front of your teeth. Veneer application involves making a thin covering (about 1 mm) over the front of your tooth, which can be done in one appointment, while dental crowns commonly require multiple appointments.

  1. Tooth impression creation. Your dentist creates a tooth impression with a digital scanner or using a mold for the veneer.
  2. Temporary veneer placement. Depending on how much your tooth was trimmed, you may have a temporary veneer placed on the tooth until the new one is ready.
  3. Permanent veneer placement. When ready, the permanent veneer replaces the temporary one and is bonded to the tooth.
  4. Aftercare. Care for your veneers the same way you take care of your normal teeth (brushing and flossing twice daily). If you clench/grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” placed over your tooth’s entire visible surface. Typically, 2 mm in thickness, crowns are a much more involved procedure than a dental veneer.

  1. Impression and preparation. Impressions of your mouth are taken. Any decay is removed from the tooth and some tooth enamel is removed to make room for the crown.
  2. Temporary crown placement. Unless your dentist office offers same-day crowns, a temporary crown is placed until a permanent crown is ready. Temporary crowns are essential in acting as a barrier, protecting the exposed area of the tooth where enamel has been removed.
  3. Permanent crown application. Permanent crowns take a couple of weeks to complete. When ready, the permanent crown is placed on your tooth.

Summary

Dental veneers and dental crowns are both used for cosmetic purposes—to resolve chips, stains, discoloration, or crooked teeth. The main difference between the two is that dental crowns cover the entire tooth surface where veneers only cover the front portion of the tooth. Crowns (2 mm) are much thicker than veneers (1 mm). Crowns provide additional support to damaged teeth where veneers do not. However, veneers are a much less invasive procedure and require less removal of the original tooth structure.  It’s always best to talk with your dentist about which option is best for your oral health.

Veneers and crowns are both a great solution for patients looking to get a white, straight smile that looks and feels natural. If you’re interested, but unsure which option is right for you, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Learn More About Dental Crowns Learn More About Dental Veneers

What are the different stages of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss of the attachment of the gum tissue to the teeth. It occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth continuously produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums and bone that hold teeth in place.

There are several different stages of periodontal disease including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Keep reading to learn more about each stage.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible because it hasn’t yet attacked the bones yet. Typically, gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque around the teeth. One of the first signs gingivitis is bleeding gums, however, many symptoms are painless, which is what makes this stage of periodontal disease so common. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits and cleanings can help treat and reverse gingivitis successfully.

Periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, the disease will progress and the gums and teeth will start to separate even further from each other. This will lead to the development of deep gingival pockets, which can promote bacterial growth even further. These pockets are prone to calculus, which can cause damage to the connective tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place.

At this stage, aggressive dental treatment is the only way to stop the disease from progressing even further. In these cases, the preferred form of treatment is what’s referred to as root planning and if necessary, antibiotics.

Advanced Periodontitis

If you’ve reached the stage of advanced periodontitis, you are at risk for tooth loss and for their teeth to fall out at any time. At this stage, the teeth will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Surgical grafts may also be required to help compensate for the loss of both bone and gum tissue.

Losing teeth is not the only thing you have to be worried about, though, if you have advanced periodontitis. There’s been growing evidence of a link between periodontal disease and other types of complications, such as that of the heart, brain and even lungs.

At this stage, aggressive dental treatment and regular checkups, treatments and intake of certain medications is required to help slow down the progression of the disease. Further treatments may also be necessary to try to reverse as much of the damage done by periodontal disease as possible.

Periodontal disease can be reversed if you catch it quick enough. However, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. You should get in contact with your dentist right away if you believe you have symptoms of periodontal disease. Call us today at (562) 597-7830 to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help!

One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.

If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to setup an appointment!

Continued Safety Protocols

As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.

Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:

  • Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
  • Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it

Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.

We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.