Treatment for gum disease from an experienced dentist in Manhattan Beach
With proper hygiene and routine dental checkups, gum disease is easily preventable. However, it’s also the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Dr. Mungcal has nearly 30 years of dental experience providing care for patients in the Manhattan Beach area. He offers a variety of treatments for gum disease, including non-surgical options to address gum recession.
How gum disease affects your health
Gum disease is caused by bacteria found naturally in your mouth. The acids and toxins produced by the bacteria weaken tooth enamel and cause your gum tissue to swell and pull away from your teeth along with food particles that harden within 48 hours (also known as tartar) making them no longer removable just with a toothbrush and/or floss. Studies have shown that this bacteria has been associated with a wide range of health disorders, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Patients with gum disease may notice bleeding when they brush and floss, bad breath, and unpleasant tastes in the mouth even after brushing – that taste and the odor of bad breath are simply the discharge from the bacteria which is feeding on the tartar.
As gum disease progresses into more advanced stages, tartar will form in the pockets and the bacteria will feed off the calculus causing an infection. This infection spreads deeper into your soft tissues, causing irreversible damage to your gums. Without proper treatment, gum disease can cause bone loss as the supportive bone around your teeth tries to “run away” from the infection. This results in teeth that loosen and/or fall out. This infection, like any other, can also spread throughout your body stressing your immune system.
While routine brushing and flossing will remove some newly formed harmful bacteria, you may miss certain areas of your mouth during your cleaning routine. However, Dr. Mungcal and the wonderful team in Manhattan Beach, can help you find the best ways to clean any trouble spots during your routine cleaning appointments.
Gum disease treatment
The first line of defense in treating gum disease is getting a deep cleaning. Here, our trained hygienists will remove not only the tartar but also the bacteria that is causing the problem. We use the latest technology to make sure that we remove any and all tartar and bacteria from your gums. In order to do this, we will first numb the areas that we’re working on so that we can keep you comfortable. The rest of the appointment will feel like a regular cleaning but without the final polish.
Depending on the severity, we may only work on one half of your mouth at a time. For example, one visit may be for your top teeth/gums and the next would be for the bottom. Either way, we will make sure you are comfortable during the procedure.
Six weeks after your deep cleaning, we will see you again for a follow up appointment. Studies show that this is the point at which all that bacteria that was removed has now grown back and we must make sure we get rid of it again! Otherwise, you will end up back where you started.
Following that 6-week appointment, we will see you every 3 months. Studies also show that following the 6-week visit, the bacteria will return in as little as 3 months. Your hygienist will discuss this with you in detail at your 6 week visit. The idea here is to create a team approach with you in managing your gum disease. The more that you know about why you need to see us every 3 months, the more you’ll dedicate yourself to this treatment plan.
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Over time and with good hygiene, your hygienist may scale you back to every 4 months and for some folks even back to a traditional 6 month interval. This will mostly rest in your hands and your home care. We will certainly recommend electric toothbrushes and for some devices like WaterPiks to properly irrigate the gum pockets so that they stay bacteria-free between cleanings. Everyone is different and therefore everyone will receive a slightly different recommendation unique to their situation and their home care habits.
In some cases, Dr. Mungcal and the team at Manhattan Beach Dental Solutions can address gum disease by identifying the bacteria in your mouth with DNA testing. This will allow them to use even more targeted antibiotics and medications that are most effective at eliminating the infection beyond just the deep cleaning itself. Some strains of bacteria are more resilient than others and this test can certainly help identify them. We take a saliva sample and send it to a lab that specializes in oral DNA testing. They then send us your results and their recommendations for the type of bacteria you have.
Don’t skip out on your routine checkups!
The longer you go between checkups, the more damage bacteria can cause to your overall health. Routine exams (these can be 3-month, 4-month or 6-month intervals) allow Dr. Mungcal and our hygiene staff to detect and start treatment for issues like cavities and gum disease before the infection spreads deeper, and more advanced (and COSTLY) procedures would be necessary. Contact our office in Manhattan Beach today at 310-340-6663 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help treat gum disease and other issues impacting your health.