Aesthetic & Comprehensive Dentistry
Many of us are guilty of overlooking our gums, instead choosing to focus our efforts on brushing our teeth and making them look as clean and healthy as possible. Nevertheless, our gums play a crucial role in supporting our teeth and if we fail to look after them, we could experience a range of problems, starting with gum disease and culminating in tooth loss and even wider health issues. Research has shown a definitive link between poor gum health and chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and liver disease, as well as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because the bacteria that are present in the gums of a patient with advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can spread to the bloodstream where they travel around the body and affect our organs and major body systems.
The good news is that in the early stages, gum disease can be reversed and even if the condition has progressed, steps can be taken to manage the condition and the symptoms it causes, and prevent the gums from deteriorating any further.
Successful treatment for gum disease begins at home, and if you don’t take positive steps to take care of your gums yourself, no amount of professional treatment will help. Brush your teeth twice each day, once in the morning and once before bed, using a soft-bristled brush which will prevent any further damage to the gum tissue. Use a fluoride toothpaste and pay particular attention to the area where the teeth meet the gums. You should also floss at least once each day. Many people don’t bother to floss, finding it time-consuming or tricky, but it is intrinsic to good oral health since it removes plaque and bacteria from the tiny cervices between the teeth where toothbrushes cannot reach.
The first line of professional treatment for gum disease is a deep clean, which is often called a scale and polish. Unlike regular cleaning which only focuses on the teeth above the gums, a scale and polish involve going below the gum line, and your dentist has special tools that enable them to do this. Any tartar (hardened plaque) will be scraped off both above and below the gum line, and then any rough surfaces of the roots of your teeth will be smoothed out to help the gums reattach to the tooth, resealing them against bacteria and plaque developing below the gumline.
Chao Pinhole Technique is an innovative new treatment that is used to correct gum recession. This is where the gum disease is so advanced that it has caused the gums to recede, pulling away from the teeth and creating large gaps, called periodontal pockets. Not only can this cause your gum disease to worsen since periodontal pockets are great at trapping bacteria and food debris but are very difficult to clean, but receding gums also look unsightly and are unable to hold the teeth as securely.
Chao Pinhole is a very simple procedure. A needle-sized hole is made into the gum tissue near to where it has receded and caused the tooth to look elongated. Special instruments are then used to loosen the gum tissue and manipulate it in such a way that it is pulled back over the receded area. Unlike gum grafting, Chao Pinhole is non-surgical, with no scalpels or sutures, and no downtime. The gums heal themselves very quickly, and most patients have no need to take any pain relief.
If the gum tissue has receded to such an extent that Chao Pinhole isn’t possible, you may need a gum graft. This is where soft tissue is taken from another part of the body (in this case, usually the roof of the mouth) and stitched onto the area of the mouth that requires gum grafting. This encourages healthy gum tissue to grow over the previously receded area, giving further support to the teeth and restoring your smile.
For more information on the best way to treat gum disease, please get in touch by calling our team at Le Smile Aesthetic & Comprehensive Dentistry in Vienna, VA and Fall Church, VA today. They look forward to helping you achieve great oral health and a confident smile.