Plaque, a clear, sticky material that forms naturally on the surfaces of your teeth, can lead to serious oral health problems if it’s not removed via regular brushing and flossing. Living within plaque are legions of bacteria that produce an acidic by-product when they digest particles of sugar and starch. This acidic by-product can lead directly to enamel erosion (the first stage of tooth decay) and gingival irritation and infection. Your Calabasas dentist, Dr. K, discusses the progression of gum disease so that you can stay aware of your oral health situation and know when to seek treatment.
The Stages of Gum Disease
The advance of gum disease, or periodontal disease, is predictable and can occur rapidly in the right conditions:
Stage 1: Gingivitis. In this initial stage, plaque irritates and infects the gums, leading to red, swollen looking gums that bleed easily, even during regular brushing.
Stage 2: Gum disease. If gingivitis goes untreated, the body will sense the presence of an infection and will begin to systematically destroy the infected area, including the tissue that connects the gums to the teeth. The gums begin to recede, creating pockets in which more plaque and food can become trapped.
Stage 3: Advanced gum disease. Eventually, the body begins to destroy the bone tissue anchoring the teeth in place. The teeth loosen and will fall out or will need to be extracted by your dentist.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, does not cause pain or discomfort in its early and middle stages. However, just because your gums do not hurt doesn’t mean you should skip visiting the dentist.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
While the earliest stages of gingivitis can be treated with rigorous at-home dental hygiene, anything more severe will need the immediate attention of your Calabasas dentist. Luckily, Dr. K is one of the few area providers of LANAP, a revolutionary new dental technology that assists in the treatment of gum disease. This laser-assisted device utilizes a concentrated beam of light energy to remove hardened plaque from below the gum line while also removing infected soft tissue. Laser gum therapy allows Dr. K to treat your gum disease safely and effectively with improved healing times, less bleeding, and less discomfort than traditional surgical methods.
Lasers in Cosmetic Dentistry: Correcting a “Gummy” Smile
When we’re scrutinizing our smiles in the mirror, we tend to focus so intently on our teeth that we forget about our gums entirely. Oftentimes, it’s the gums that can make an otherwise lovely smile look a little off. Smiles that show a large amount of gum tissue make the teeth appear small, stumpy, and childish. An uneven gum line can make perfectly straight teeth look uneven and awkward. In the past, dentists used surgical techniques to correct a gummy smile. Now, forward-thinking dentists like Dr. K utilize LANAP, a laser-assisted device that allows for precision shaping of the soft tissues with minimal discomfort and reduced healing times.
Exceptional Care and Comfort with Your Calabasas Dentist
At Calabasas Smiles, Dr. K and his staff of friendly, talented professionals look forward to caring for your smile. We provide a full menu of dental care services, from checkups and cleanings to dental implants. To schedule an appointment at our Calabasas dentist office, please contact us today at (818) 878-7300. We proudly serve patients and their families from Hidden Hills, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks, West Hills, and the 91302 zip code area.