According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 47.2% of Americans 30 years and older have some form of periodontal or gum disease.
Periodontal disease is the inflammation of gums that not just causes damage to the soft tissues of your mouth, but in the long run, destroys the structure supporting your teeth, leading to tooth loss.
At Michael Yokoyama, D.D.S, Dr. Yokoyama can help diagnose the health of your gums and determine whether you need to be treated for gum disease.
When we eat sugary foods, a biofilm known as plaque forms on our teeth. This biofilm is a breeding ground for bacteria and, if left untreated, can harden into calculus. Calculus cannot be safely cleaned at home and can lead to inflammation of the gums.
The first stage of gum inflammation is known as gingivitis. During this stage, you will experience tender and swollen gums, which may bleed during brushing. Damage at this stage is reversible. However, if you do not get it treated quickly, it will progress to a more chronic and damaging stage of gum disease, known as periodontitis.
Symptoms of periodontitis include red and painful gums. Deep pockets form between the gums and the teeth, harboring bacteria, which will start attacking your tooth roots and the supporting bony structure. You may also experience a foul taste in your mouth or have bad breath.
If periodontitis is not treated at this stage, the damage to the gums and bones will become severe, until your teeth will start loosening and will eventually fall out.
The only way to save your teeth is through periodontal maintenance.
During this process, we will use an ultrasonic device to shake loose the larger pieces of calculus from your teeth. We will then use fine instruments called scalers to scrape off the stubborn plaque from your teeth. We will also remove the bacterial plaque from inside your gum pockets.
Once that is done, we will smooth the exposed tooth root so that the bacteria may not be able to find purchase on the tooth surface. We may also place antibacterial medication in your gum pocket and also prescribe antibiotics and an antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent re-infection.
If your pockets are more than 3 or 4 millimeters deep, we may have to perform a gum flap surgery to get access to the bacteria underneath your gums and remove it. We will then suture your gums closed.
Since periodontal disease results in the destruction of gums and bone, we may have to perform a gum graft or bone augmentation surgery to rebuild these tissues in severe cases.
Why is Periodontal Maintenance Important?
Periodontitis is a chronic disease and will re-emerge after two to four months if you do not get periodontal maintenance. Research shows that people who do not have periodontal maintenance at proper intervals are at risk of losing two to three times more teeth than people who follow regular periodontal maintenance appointments.
Therefore, to avoid bacteria from wreaking havoc to your gums and teeth, it is crucial that you keep your dental visits with us.
If you suspect you have gum disease, do not wait for it to get worse. Call us at 760-632-9055 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Yokoyama today.
Michael Yokoyama, D.D.S
477 North El Camino Real #C-306
Encinitas, CA 92024
Monday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm