Periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis

When we talk about periodontal disease, we mean those conditions of the periodontium, which is the set of tissues and fibres surrounding the tooth, holding and protecting it. It is formed by gums, the periodontal ligament, the root cement and the alveolar bone.

Gums are the tissues that line the arches of the jaws, surrounding the neck of the tooth and joining it through an epithelium that acts as a sealant. They constitute the visible part of the gum. Like the teeth, the gums have been exposed to disease. When these tissues become inflamed and/or infected, they are altered, allowing the passage of bacteria into the gum, which poses a threat to the stability of the teeth and can lead to the loss of said teeth.

Gingivitis

The main enemy of our gums is the bacterial plaque or “biofilm”. It is a thin layer of bacteria that forms on the surface of the teeth and, without proper oral hygiene, calcifies forming tartar on the surface of the tooth and even under the gum. The presence of plaque and tartar can damage the enamel and cause inflammation of the gums. This inflammation is what is known as gingivitis and is the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease.

Symptoms

The main symptom of gingivitis is bleeding gums, as a result of the inflammation and redness. None of these signs usually generate discomfort, so they can go unnoticed by the patient, especially in cases of smokers, since tobacco can mask them. For this reason, periodic reviews or our consultation are so important.

Treatment

Usually, performing a professional oral cleaning (tartar removal procedure) to eliminate calcified deposits and monitoring proper oral hygiene, in line with the instructions provided by our clinical team, are sufficient to reverse gingivitis and prevent it from evolving into the next stage of the disease, “periodontitis”, which involves bone loss and whose consequences may be irreversible.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis, pyorrhoea or periodontal disease is a bacterial disease that causes inflammation of the gums and progressive loss of bone support of the teeth. Without proper treatment, you can end the life of the teeth, which can lead to them falling out. The most noticeable symptoms by the patient are the same as in gingivitis redness and gingival redness and gingival bleeding. In more advanced stages, other symptoms may appear, such as mobility and/or displacement of the teeth, gum, retraction, tooth lengthening and halitosis or bad breath.

Some forms of the disease occur in young patients or only in some areas, so a thorough examination is necessary to assess the degree of involvement and the necessary treatment. The destruction caused by gum and bone periodontitis is irreversible in most cases, so early diagnosis treatment will be the best way to preserve teeth and avoid sequelae.

Symptoms

As with gingivitis, the only initial symptom of periodontitis is bleeding gums and redness inflammation. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may appear such as mobility and displacement of the teeth, gingival retraction and lengthening of the teeth, the appearance of sensitivity to cold or halitosis.

Treatment

The treatment is aimed at eliminating the stone deposits that form on the tooth and below the gums. Usually it is done through deep cleaning sessions, called scraped and root smoothed, although in more advanced stages it may be necessary to make a surgical access to allow better access and subsequent healing or even consider performing regenerative treatments that allow to improve one’s prognosis of one to several teeth. In all cases the maintenance of adequate oral hygiene by the patient and the follow-up of a personalized maintenance program will be essential to stop or slow the progression of the disease.

Risk factors that can affect the health of the gums

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Crowded, crooked or misaligned teeth that make cleaning interdental spaces difficult
  • Genetic predisposition to have from periodontal disease.
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Some medications or treatments such as steroids, antiepileptics, chemotherapy, calcium channel blockers or contraceptives.

Dental decay: A condition too common

The teeth are formed in its most superficial layer by enamel, which protects the internal tissues of the tooth from external aggressions. Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in our body, it does not prevent it from deteriorating or being affected. If this occurs, it is necessary to treat it to avoid the occurrence of dental pathologies that lead to major complications, such as dental decay.

What is a tooth decay?

One of the main causes of tooth enamel deterioration, beyond the wear and tear caused by one’s use or age, is the decrease in the pH of the mouth caused by the acids that form when the bacterial plaque comes into contact with the sugars of some foods (primarily carbohydrates). When the pH of the mouth drops, it creates the environment that allows acids to act, facilitating the destruction of the tooth surface (enamel) and the appearance of small holes or cavities, commonly known as decay.

Not all people are prone to decay formation. Factors such as genetics, tooth anatomy or saliva composition, among other elements, are decisive in the appearance of decay. This explains that two people with identical oral hygiene habits and who follow the same diet, may be affected differently by this pathology.

The formation of decay occurs at any age, although more frequently in children and adolescents, since in this period a greater amount of food is consumed with a high content of sugars called cariogenic) and oral hygiene is, in general, not very efficient. Elderly people also have a special predisposition to decay.

Symptoms

A greater sensitivity to cold and / or heat, usually in the affected tooth, in addition to the presence of more or less intense discomfort, may be symptoms of the presence of decay. However, it should be kept in mind that decay may not show symptoms until very advanced stages, once it has reached a great size and depth. That is why it is very important that you go to your check-up visits promptly in our office, since there is where we can diagnose them in their initial phase and treat them more easily.

Treatment

The most common treatment for tooth decay is the filling, also called “filling” or “composite restoration”. The obturation consists in the elimination of the tissues damaged by decay and the subsequent filling of the resulting cavity by means of a material that replaces the hard tissues that have been lost by decay and guarantees the protection of dentin.

At present, fillings enjoy great durability and resistance, although over the years they can deteriorate or fracture. It is also common that, over time, leaks occur around the fillings made. In both cases, the damaged composite must be removed, the area cleaned again and a new seal must be made.

How to prevent tooth decay?

Since decay is caused by a set of factors, we must apply the following preventive measures:

  • Brush and clean the spaces between the teeth to eliminate bacteria at least twice a day.
  • Control the consumption of potentially cariogenic and sugar-rich foods, limiting them to the main meals.
  • Use fluoridated toothpastes and rinses to protect tooth enamel and prevent acid adhesion. In addition to brushing.
    in both children and adults, it is advisable to perform fluoridation periods in the dental clinic.
  • Replace the chewing gum with sugar for chewing gum with xylitol.
  • Go periodically to check your oral health in our clinic.
  • In some cases, it may be highly recommended to protect the occlusal tooth surface of the premolars and molars with a seal of the pits and grooves in the tooth.

Dental decay, a condition too common …

Unfortunately, and despite the great effort that global health organizations make, along with doctors and dental clinics to raise awareness about these conditions, tooth decay is too common. Haste, bad meals, lack of hygiene or even stress favour these problems appear in our mouth. And in addition, decay does not understand age, both in children and adults, these exist. The problem with this fact is that tooth decay is the beginning of major problems such as root canals or extreme sensitivities in the teeth. Even so, from Eduardo López Dental Clinic we do not stop trying to raise awareness and educate about this problem.

Prevention and oral hygiene

Both the teeth and the rest of the present structures in the mouth are formed by living cells. The action of external agents, such as infections or trauma, can cause the tissues that form and support the tooth to become ill and / or deteriorate.

Not only natural teeth need to be checked periodically. Patients who are using any type of dental prosthesis should also undergo revisions in order to avoid gingival recesses, friction and discomfort that can lead to major problems.

If we pay attention to our oral health and take care of it as we should, we can prevent the occurrence of certain diseases, or detect them in their earliest stages, which will allow us to cure them more effectively, guaranteeing a healthy and strong denture.

How to maintain proper oral hygiene 

The main conditions such as tooth decay or gingivitis are diseases whose origin lies in the accumulation of bacteria on the surface of gums and teeth. These are grouped together to form a film that is known as a bacterial plaque, which if not removed correctly becomes the famous tartar. Therefore, we must remove all these plaque remains by brushing after each meal and flossing.

In addition, you should periodically go to the dentist’s office to perform specific dental cleanings, such as tartar removal procedures, to remove these food debris from our gums.

Here are the recommended oral hygiene practices:

Brushing

It is essential to brush our teeth after each meal, including the tongue. It is also important to replace our toothbrush every quarter, or even earlier if we see that it is damaged. With regard to toothpaste, we recommend using one whose flavour is pleasant and is properly fluorinated. Fluoride helps us remineralize enamel and protect it from erosion of bacterial acids.

Dental Floss 

Between the teeth there are holes that are impossible to reach with our brush, and that is where the remains of food and bacterial plaque remain accumulated. Flossing is the best solution to this problem. With using it once a day we should be left over, but we recommend caution when using it since we can harm our gums. Smoothness and precision.

Mouthwashes  

These are oral solutions created to complement oral hygiene, but never to replace brushing or dental floss. It is simply one more step in cleaning our mouth. There is a wide variety of mouthwashes.

Professional dental cleaning 

SIt is known as tartar removal procedure and is performed by a hygienist or professional dentist. Its main objective is to eliminate tartar and accumulated bacterial plaque between the gums and teeth. Patients who have some type of pathology related to periodontal disease requires a special treatment for cleaning.

Teeth whitening: Origin, benefits and contraindications

With the passage of time, the intake of food and other factors (poor hygiene, blows, snuff …), the white colour of our teeth is lost as the years progress. This fact is not something that determines the state of one’s health, but with its use, the enamel and other parts of the tooth are darkening. It is a natural process that can rarely be avoided, but it can be treated. Professional teeth whitening is a real and affordable solution for all those who wish to have a whiter and brighter smile. That is why today we come to talk in depth about teeth whitening, what is its origin, the advantages it has and some contraindications. Let’s begin.

Origin of teeth whitening

It is said that it was in 1989 in North America, when doctors Haywood and Heymann found a real solution to the problem of loss of whiteness in the teeth. Until now, many had tried unsuccessfully, but it was in the late 1980s when real and acceptable results were obtained for the purpose in which they worked. Basically, this first globally accepted tooth whitening was based on the application of carbamide peroxide gels.

From this discovery, the teeth whitening techniques have been progressively improving until today, where in addition to gels, we also use other elements such as bleaching lamps and other methods that offer fast and excellent results. A correct diet and no smoking, along with the application of certain treatments or the use of toothpastes that include substances beneficial to the task in question can help, but teeth whitening as such has always been considered as something professional.

Types of teeth whitening

  • Photoactivation whitening: Method less than one hour long with which we see immediate results. It combines application of gels with activation by LED light.
  • Whitening at home: Plastic splints are used on which the bleaching gel is applied and they will be placed as indicated by the expert dentist in these types of treatments.
  • Mixed whitening: : Combines the two previous types. Basically, it focuses on strengthening home treatment with sporadic photoactivation sessions.
  • Internal whitening: Focused on patients who have teeth that do not reach the blood supply for different reasons. It must be done in the clinic and is completely painless.

Benefits of professional teeth whitening

The advantages and positive repercussions of teeth whitening are mostly aesthetic. But we should not underestimate our appearance since, after all, our self-esteem or our mood depends on this. We won’t say how important appearance is in careers dealing with the public or with fashion.

  • Improve your smile: A white denture will always make your smile stand out more. No matter how beautiful your denture is, if it doesn’t look white and shiny, it won’t attract attention as it should.
  • Improves self-esteem: Not having complexes when it comes to smiling will make us have a better mood, transmitting good feelings to the people around us and spreading the good mood in others.
  • It is not painful; it is not expensive and it is fast: Teeth whitening is a completely painless technique that any patient can receive. In addition, the price is not at all something out of the ordinary and is affordable for any financial situation and best of all, the results appear fast.

Recommendations and contraindications

Like everything else in this life, excess or bad advice can have a negative impact on the health of our teeth. It is important not to become obsessed with having excessively white teeth, as tooth whitening over-treatment can damage tooth enamel. Also, there are situations in which the teeth cannot reach the desired tone, having to perform other treatments such as porcelain veneers. Another note about the side effects of teeth whitening (if abused), is that hypersensitivity may appear in the teeth. Of course, it is something temporary that should disappear after the treatment.

Discover how we work on teeth whitening at Eduardo López Dental Clinic