What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is one of America's most common health problems, with nearly 50% of adults over the age of 30 suffering from or having experienced it some degree. Despite this high prevalence, prevention is as simple as maintaining an effecting oral hygiene routine at home and regularly visiting the dentist for cleanings.

The Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease develops in three stages, beginning with the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. This sticky, naturally occurring substance is deposited on the teeth by oral bacteria that feed on sugars and carbohydrates. Daily brushing and flossing prevent excessive plaque accumulation, which otherwise could lead to the progression of gum disease as follows:

1.      The first stage of gum is gingivitis, which develops as plaque deposits harden into tartar, and pockets of bacteria begin to grow at the gumline. Over time, the build-up of bacteria, plaque, and tartar causes irritation and infection at the gumline.

2.      In stage two, periodontitis develops. The pockets of bacteria start to work their way below the gumline, infecting the deep connective tissues that hold the teeth in place.

3.      The final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis, where severe damage to the tissue and supporting jaw bone causes the teeth to become loose and fall out.

During the initial phase of gingivitis, the disease can be reversed with an aggressive hygiene routine. However, if the disease progresses to the next stage where periodontal pockets are created, patients often require a more extensive treatment as well as the development of a maintenance plan in order to protect the individual’s oral health and prevent recurrence.

A Silent Oral Disease
Gum disease is often a silent disease in that many people do not have symptoms that clearly point to its presence. In fact, the early stages of gum disease are asymptomatic, with no noticeable changes in the mouth until gingivitis develops.

This is just one reason why it's so important to establish a good oral health routine at home—with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing—and to see your dentist regularly for professional cleaning. Gum disease can cause severe oral health problems which can in turn affect your overall health. However, with effective oral healthcare measures both at home and from your dentist, it's a problem that can easily be kept at bay.

Additionally, being able to recognize the signs of progressing gum disease can help patients prevent the long term consequences associated with the condition by seeking medical attention when they first recognize symptoms.

If you think you may be exhibiting signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment at Light Dental Studios – Puyallup today. Our Puyallup dentists can help you regain your long-term oral health.  

5 Reasons Why Dental Implants Promote Oral Health

Dental implants are life-changing, but why exactly are they such a revolutionary method of tooth restoration? Part of the answer lies in the structure of the implants. An implant is comprised of a post, abutment, and prosthetic, which closely mimic the structure of a natural tooth. As a result, implants provide many of the long-term oral health benefits that natural teeth do, such as:

Preserving the Jawbone
When you chew food, your teeth exert force on the underlying jawbone, keeping it strong and healthy. But when you have missing teeth, that force isn't being exerted and, over time, this causes a loss of jawbone density.

Most methods of tooth restoration, such as dentures and bridges, do not exert natural force on the jawbone, and can't prevent further deterioration or tooth loss. In contrast, dental implants exert the same kind of force on the jawbone as natural teeth do, which preserves jawbone density.

When placed within the jawbone, bone grows around the implant. This incorporation of the implant into the bone is known as osseointegration and is aided with force exerted on bone—which is why doctors recommend weight-bearing exercise to protect against osteoporosis.

Maintaining Facial Structure
Dental implants’ ability to exert natural force on the jawbone has another positive effect.  Loss of jawbone density can shrink bone, which can cause your facial structure and appearance to change dramatically, often leading to the appearance of premature aging. Because dental implants preserve jawbone density, they prevent these facial changes from occurring.

Preventing Misalignment
Another problem that happens over time when teeth are missing is that adjacent teeth begin to drift into the empty space. This can affect your ability to chew, and can lead to more oral health problems in the long term.

Dental implants mimic the structure and function of natural teeth, which stops teeth from drifting, and prevents the development health problems that can lead to further tooth loss.

Independent of Surrounding Dentition
Dental implants can replace just one tooth or multiple teeth without requiring support from surrounding healthy teeth or oral structures. Not only does this ensure a lasting restoration, but it protects the structural integrity of neighboring, healthy teeth.

Restore Full-Mouth Function
Dental implants completely restore teeth and overall oral function. With dental implants, your ability to chew tough or crunchy foods is restored, the implants don't affect your speech, and they don't slip when chewing or coughing, the way dentures often do.

Considering Dental Implants? Call Light Dental Studios Today!

Dental implants improve your quality of life and promote long-term oral health. If you're interested in learning more about dental implants, we're here to help. Our state-of-the-art dental practice in Puyallup offers all phases of the procedure, including preliminary processes through to placing restorations.