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Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

June 12th, 2024

Gum disease is a common problem among adults, and one Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis and our periodontal team see all too often. Early stages of gum disease are known as gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums. This can progress to more serious gum disease known as periodontitis.

If you notice signs and symptoms of gum disease, take early action to prevent progression of gingivitis to more serious periodontitis and the risk of losing your teeth due to gum loss.

Watch for These Signs and Symptoms

It’s important to watch for signs and symptoms of gum disease, especially if you have risk factors. Early detection at home can help you get treatment sooner so that you don’t risk losing your teeth. These are the classic signs and symptoms of gum disease:

  • Inflamed gums, or gums that are red or swollen
  • Pain when you chew
  • Teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, sweets, or brushing
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath that you can’t get rid of by brushing or using mouthwash, even when you don’t eat particularly smelly food
  • Gums that are sore to the touch or bleed easily, including when you brush your teeth
  • Teeth that seem to be taller or longer due to receding gums
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the way your dentures fit in your mouth

Signs We Look For

When you visit our San Mateo, CA office, we will examine you to see how far your gum disease has progressed. We do this by:

  • Discussing your medical history with you to see which risk factors you have
  • Checking your gums to see if they are swollen or red, and how far the inflammation has progressed
  • Measuring the depth of any pockets around your teeth using a type of ruler called a probe.

Treatment for Gum Disease

Brushing and flossing go a long way toward preventing bacteria from forming acid on your teeth and allowing tartar to build up. However, once you have the beginnings of gum disease, your regular brushing and flossing routine aren’t enough. Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis can provide more extensive treatment, such as:

  • Deep cleaning through scaling and root planing
  • Medications to fight the infection
  • Surgical treatments, like bone or tissue grafting to replace lost tissue

If you think you may have gum disease, or are concerned about the state of your gum health, be sure to contact our San Mateo, CA office to schedule an appointment. Together, we can help you achieve a lifetime of good oral health.

Aging and Oral Health

June 5th, 2024

As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-fourth of adults age 65 and older have no remaining teeth. What's more, nearly one-third of older adults have untreated tooth decay.

Oral health, regardless of age, is crucial to overall good health. Ideally, we all want to keep your natural teeth, but whether you're caring for natural teeth or dentures, advancing age may put older adults at risk for a number of oral health problems, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diminished sense of taste
  • Root decay
  • Gum disease
  • Uneven jawbone caused by tooth loss
  • Denture-induced tissue inflammation
  • Overgrowth of fungus in the mouth
  • Attrition (loss of teeth structure by mechanical forces)
  • Oral cancer

These conditions may not be diagnosed until it is too late. If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Here are some tips for maintaining and improving your oral health as you become older:

  • Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner.
  • If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them on a daily basis. Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day. It’s best to remove them at night.
  • Drink tap water. Since most contains fluoride, it helps prevent tooth decay no matter how old you are.
  • Quit smoking. Besides putting you at greater risk for lung and other cancers, smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
  • Visit Peninsula Periodontal Associates regularly for a complete dental checkup.

If you have any questions about keeping up with your oral hygiene at home, please give us a call!

Dental Implants vs. Natural Teeth

May 29th, 2024

If you're considering getting an implant, you'll most certainly have questions for Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis. You might be wondering how a dental implant compares to a real tooth. Let's look at some of the differences between implants and natural teeth.

It should be noted that one of the primary goals of implant dentistry is to try to provide the same form and function as your natural teeth. However, with that in mind, know that an implant is not a tooth. An implant does not decay and does not have dental pulp or periodontal membrane like teeth.

An implant won't always work in every case, but they do have some great advantages when they are called for. Some advantages of an implant:

  • Often last for decades without needing to be replaced
  • Create a functional and aesthetically pleasing replacement for your missing tooth
  • Don't require surrounding teeth for support
  • Do not decay like natural teeth
  • Can be fixed or removable
  • Are able to replace single tooth or multiple teeth

There are downsides to implants where natural teeth win out. The disadvantages of implants include:

  • Higher cost compared to traditional dentistry
  • It's a surgical procedure which requires a period of healing afterward
  • Fracturing of fixtures and loosening of screws can occur (only in about 5% of patients)
  • Since there is no cushion between the implant and the bone, fracturing of crowns and bridges is more common with implants than with natural teeth, though this is rare.

It's best to speak with Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis about your options regarding implants. Let us know what you want to achieve and we'll work with you as best we can to accomplish that. And don't hesitate to contact our San Mateo, CA office for further questions about the procedure.

Memorial Day and Getting Ready for Summer

May 27th, 2024

Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.

During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.

Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer

  • Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
  • Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
  • Visit Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Our team at Peninsula Periodontal Associates wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.

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