As a leading dentist in Northern California, Dr. Guzman helps patients in San Francisco's Marina and Cow Hollow neighborhoods and surrounding areas avoid tooth loss and other serious issues with advanced techniques for gum disease treatment and prevention aimed at fighting infection and restoring gums to their healthiest state.
Gum Disease Treatment & Prevention Q & A
Why does gum disease occur?
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease or, in its mildest form, gingivitis) occurs when harmful bacteria collect along the gum line, where the teeth meet the gums. These bacteria release toxins that cause your gum tissue to pull away or recede from the tooth surface. As the tissue pulls away, bacteria invade the gums below the gum line, releasing more toxins and causing tissue to continue to recede. Without treatment, the bacteria will eventually reach the root pocket where they can cause teeth to become loose and even fall out. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the U.S.
How can I tell if I have gum disease?
In its early stages and even as it begins to progress, gum disease can cause few symptoms, which is why having routine dental exams and checkups is so important to maintain the health of your gums. When it does cause symptoms, they can include:
- Tender, sore, red or swollen gums
- Bleeding from the gums, especially when brushing or flossing
- Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
How is gum disease treated?
Mild gum disease can be treated with more frequent cleanings to control bacterial growth and help gums heal. More moderate to advanced disease requires special cleaning techniques to reach below the gum line and remove bacteria from around and on the root. Antibiotics are also used during deep cleaning to help ensure hard-to-reach bacteria are killed so gum disease doesn't progress.
Can I prevent gum disease?
Yes - routine cleanings are the best way to prevent disease and to catch it in its earliest stages. Your hygienist can also provide you with tips on how to brush and floss properly to reduce your risks between cleanings. You should also avoid sticky, sugary snacks which provide a food source for bacteria.