Smiles by Payet Dentistry – Beautiful Smiles. Lifetime Care

Family, Laser, and Cosmetic Dentistry by Charlotte dentist Dr. Payet.

Gum (periodontal) disease, gum recession, gingivitis, and all that jazz

Given how important gum health is to overall mouth health, it is kind of bad that I haven’t addressed it yet on my blog, so it’s time to get to this very important subject!  The first thing to note: as much as I love to use photos to illustrate different situations, I’m not going to use any pictures of gum disease, and please trust me on this….you don’t want me to do so!  LOL  Gum disease can look pretty nasty (and it is!), and if you’re reading this around lunch or dinner, I don’t want you to lose your appetite.  🙂

First question then: What is the difference between Gum (Periodontal) Disease and Gingivitis?

In simplest terms: Gingivitis is inflammation of your gums, but Gum Disease is infection of your gums. Both are caused by bacteria, but gum disease is a lot more severe and has worse implications for your overall health, not just your gums and teeth.

If you listen to the TV commercials by certain mouthrinse manufacturers, you’d get the idea that gingivitis is pretty darn bad stuff.  True, you should not ignore it, but no, it does not mean your teeth are on the verge of falling out.

Whether or not gingivitis ever progresses to gum (periodontal) disease is affected by a number of factors, including

  1. The kinds and amounts of bacteria that you have in your mouth
  2. Your immune system
  3. Your oral hygiene habits (brushing, flossing, mouthrinses, etc)

We actually categorize gum disease into 4 stages, called Type I, II, III, and IV  (there are some oddbal scenarios, but as they’re rare I”m not going to bother you with them). Type I is the mildest form and is when gingivitis crosses the line into gum disease, with Types II and III getting progressively worse with the gum separating from the teeth, bone being lost around the teeth, the gums getting redder and bleeding more easily, more and more tartar and plaque building up around the teeth, and EVENTUALLY (if it’s not treated and controlled) it reaches Type IV, and if your gum disease has progressed that far, it is quite possible that you will be losing your teeth pretty darn soon.

Did you know that gum disease is the cause of more extractions that cavities even?

So what can you do about it?  Stay tuned…….more information coming soon!  It’s important, too, BECAUSE GUM DISEASE HAS BEEN LINKED TO A NUMBER OF OTHER VERY SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS YOU DON’T WANT!

Advertisement

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Periodontal (Gum) Disease | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So I grind my teeth, Doc – what’s the big deal?

Many people grind their teeth.  Many people clench their teeth.  Many do both.  The worst part is, though, that many have no idea that they do it, or how much damage they’re doing to their teeth — or how much it could cost to fix.  Sadly, too, many dentists don’t do anything about it either.  Here are 2 examples of just how badly one can damage teeth by grinding/clenching.

Teeth damaged by grinding & clenching become short, chipped, worn, jagged, sharp, and ugly.

Teeth damaged by grinding & clenching become short, chipped, worn, jagged, sharp, and ugly

How teeth can look after years of grinding and clenching.

How teeth can look after years of grinding and clenching.

Look how uneven the teeth are as they’ve been ground down.  See the gum recession and the deep “notches” in the teeth?  These things are NOT caused just by growing older and our mouths aging.  It takes incredible force to wear down enamel, which is the hardest substance in your body.  But once you wear through enamel into the second tooth layer – dentin – that wears down much faster and the damage accelerates.

Both of these gentleman wanted better-looking smiles.  The first one was completed over 4 years ago; we are still in the process of completely rebuilding the mouth of the second gentleman.  Needless to say, it is very expensive to rebuild teeth like this.  Sadly, it could have been almost completely avoided if they had known about and used a nightguard years ago.

So if you think you grind your teeth – call us today!  Sure, your nightguard might cost several hundred dollars………but what is that compared to thousands and thousands of dollars in treatment and many hours of time in the dentist’s chair.  You’re investing in the future health of your mouth.

Don’t wait like these gentlemen did.  Call us at 704-364-7069 and make your appointment to have a nightguard made and protect your teeth!

Visit our Smiles by Payet Dentistry page on this for more information on the NTI-tss nightguard.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Bruxism & Parafunction, Cosmetic dentistry, Dental Philosophy of Care, General dentistry, Restorative dentistry, TMJ and Headache Therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment