Healthy gums are an integral part of a beautiful smile and your overall dental health. Gum disease is the sworn enemy of a beautiful smile.
Periodontal therapy prevents and treats gum disease, relieving pain, protecting you from tooth loss, and protecting the health of your jawbone. At Softouch Dental Care, experienced dentist Dr. Michael Chung will recommend a multitude of treatments for restoring the health and beauty of your smile. Call 703-319-6990 today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is Gum Disease?
It is gum inflammation and infection, and is the inevitable result of poor dental hygiene. It begins quietly with no symptoms and progresses through tooth, gum, jawbone, and into the blood, multiplying symptoms as it expands. It can affect your entire health.
All human mouths contain bacteria. The purpose of daily brushing and flossing is to remove them on a regular basis, keeping their numbers down to a level consistent with good dental health. Left to themselves, bacteria thrive and multiply, spreading into whatever cozy pockets they can find and excreting acid toxins which eat into tooth enamel.
Structure of a Tooth
What we can see is not the entire tooth. That pearly-white part is known as the tooth’s crown (hence the term dental crown), and below the gums are the tooth roots. They extend well into the jawbone with up to four roots per tooth.
Inside each root is a root canal, a hollow space that runs vertically from the inside of the crown to the tip of the root. Inside root canals are nerves and blood vessels which supply the tooth with sensation and nourishment.
Thus, the tooth is connected to the systemic nervous system and the body’s circulatory system. This is two-way communication. Sensation and nourishment are brought to the tooth, and if the tooth root becomes decayed and filled with bacteria, then (a) bacteria can travel in the blood to the rest of the body; and (b) the sensation of pain travels in the nerve back to the brain and we suffer from toothache.
This is the first stage of gum disease. Neglect of brushing and flossing allows bacteria to thrive and leave their excretions on the teeth and gums. This sticky coating is known as plaque. When it’s left too long, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus), and can no longer be removed by brushing or flossing.
At this point, you would notice bleeding gums when you do brush and the gums will also swell and become reddened. You may well have toothache. If nothing is done, gingivitis will progress into full gum disease.
A professional cleaning is required. Scaling and planing can remove bacteria and their toxins from both the tooth surface and the root surface a little below the gumline.
If there is no professional intervention, bacteria are now firmly established. Each tooth normally has a tiny pocket between its surface and the enclosing gum tissue. Bacteria multiply in these and cause them to widen. The gums pull back from the teeth. This in turn gives bacteria more space, so they multiply more, and continue widening the pockets.
Thus a vicious cycle is set in motion which becomes difficult to stop. Not only are the gums involved, but teeth decay too, the decay invades the root canal, killing the nerve (which stops the toothache but of course not the problem), and eventually invading the bone itself. At this point, periodontal therapy or laser treatment is almost always necessary.
Periodontal therapy has become far easier and more effective because dental lasers are now used to remove bacteria and decay. A soft-tissue laser is extraordinarily precise, and Dr. Chung can quickly vaporize decayed tissue and bacteria along with it. This cleans out the entire diseased area very efficiently, sealing the gum tissue to stop bleeding and infection. It leaves all healthy tissue in place.
Good Dental Hygiene
The best way to deal with gum disease is to avoid it. At our dentistry practice, we emphasize education and excellent daily hygiene.
Good dental health is the foundation of a beautiful smile. If your dental health is good, Dr. Chung can move on to enhancing your smile, perfecting it to increase your overall facial attractiveness. Procedures like porcelain veneers, tooth whitening and gum recontouring are best done in a healthy mouth.
If you are procrastinating about having your teeth professionally cleaned or if you suffer from strong anxiety at the prospect of visiting a dentist, please be assured that we will welcome you warmly and provide whatever dental care you need. Our office is comfortable and relaxing. We regard you as an honored guest, and our whole team is dedicated to giving you five-star service. Please let us know if you would like help with relaxing, because we offer sedation dentistry for people who have a trepidation about visiting dentists.
Dr. Chung serves Northern Virginia, including Oakton, Vienna, McLean, Great Falls, Tysons Corner, Reston, Arlington, Herndon, Fairfax, Falls Church, Chantilly, Centreville areas. Please contact Softouch Dental Care to arrange your initial consultation with Dr. Chung by calling 703-319-6990. We hope to meet with you soon.