- Why do we need dental cleanings?
- What is gum disease?
- Is gum disease a common problem?
- What are the stages of gum disease?
- What are the risks of gum disease?
- How frequently do I need to have my teeth cleaned?
Getting regular dental cleanings is very important to the long-term health of your teeth and gums. Maintaining regular dental cleanings is the best way to maintain healthy teeth and gums, besides brushing and flossing your teeth daily. If you fail to get regular dental cleanings, you put yourself at risk of developing gum disease. Eventually, gum disease leads to bleeding gums, bad breath, sensitive teeth and eventually tooth loss. If you’re planning on having healthy teeth and gums in old age, you need to start with maintaining your regular dental cleanings.
Gum disease is when bacteria accumulate on your teeth and start damaging your gums and supporting bone structure. Gum disease starts off when food particles accumulate on your teeth surfaces and you fail to clean them. These food particles solidify to form a buildup known as plaque. If you don’t remove plaque, it continues to calcify and forms into what is known as tartar or calculus. Tartar harbors harmful bacteria which produce acids that gradually destroy your gums and supporting bone structure.
Unfortunately, tartar is impossible to remove with over-the-counter cleaning instruments such as a toothbrush or dental floss. Only a dental cleaning can remove tartar buildup from your teeth to get your gums back to a healthy state.
Gum disease is a very common condition. In fact, half the population over 30 suffers from some stage of gum disease. Additionally, your risk of gum disease increases with age and goes up to 2/3 for those above 65 years old.
If left untreated, gum disease eventually leads to tooth loss.In fact, gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the adult population. It is not uncommon for patients with advanced gum disease to lose most or all of their teeth.
We divide gum disease into two stages, known as gingivitis and periodontitis. Here is a bit more information about each stage:
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the earlier stage of gum disease highlighted by changes in the texture and color of your gums. If you have gingivitis, your gums become red, swollen, puffy and tender. You may also experience frequent gum bleeding episodes, especially when cleaning your teeth.
- Periodontitis: Periodontitis, or pyorrhea, is the more advanced and serious stage of gum disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it gradually progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis is highlighted by bone loss around you teeth which causes tooth sensitivity, bad breath and loosening of your teeth.
If left untreated, gum disease leads to tooth loss. Luckily, gingivitis is fully reversible. This is because bacterial damage is restricted to your gum tissue and has not spread to your jawbone as of yet. A good dental cleaning will eliminate the offending bacteria and return your gums to a healthy, happy state.
Unfortunately, periodontitis is a much more serious condition. Unlike gingivitis, damage sustained from periodontitis is not reversible. Once you lose your supporting jawbone, it is nearly impossible to replace it. Losing your supporting jawbone makes your teeth loose and mobile. If left untreated, periodontitis damages your jawbone until your teeth become so loose that they end up falling out!
The number of cleanings you need each year depends on your home-hygiene, teeth crowding issues, medical history, etc. The average patient needs a dental cleaning every 6 months. However, those with advanced gum disease need a cleaning every 3 to 4 months. Only your dentist can determine the status of your gums to determine how frequently you need your teeth cleaned.
If you are due a dental cleaning, don’t delay treatment and give us a call today. Call us at (949) 481-2540 or book your cleaning online today. We will examine your X-rays and evaluate your gums to determine a protocol a treatment that best suits your needs. By following our instructions and maintaining regular cleanings, we can help you keep your teeth healthy and happy for life!