Posts for: March, 2014
When was the last time you really paid attention to your gums? They may be wanting some TLC! Our gums aren't as prominent as our teeth, so they can be overlooked. But their health is a key part of your beautiful smile. And by keeping your gums in great shape, you ensure that they support your healthy teeth for years to come. Read on for some warning signs of ailing gums, as well as steps you can take at home and in our office to repair them.
How Gums Become Damaged
For many patients, tooth damage makes more sense than gum damage. Because your enamel is hard and can't repair itself, it requires outside help when it cracks, breaks, or wears down. But your gums are subject to many of the same forces as your teeth, and they can suffer similar damages. Some of the most common causes of an altered gum line include
- Tooth grinding - Grinding your teeth is a bad habit for many reasons, and it does untold damage to your teeth. Your gums suffer as well. The repeat pressure and wear leads to gum recession, wherein your gum line descends. This shows more tooth and less gum, and can change the balanced appearance of your smile. Receding gums also expose your tooth roots, which can be highly sensitive and also yellow in color.
- Periodontal disease - Gum disease destroys both teeth and gums. The major way it alters your gum line is by giving rise to periodontal pockets, bacteria-filled areas between your teeth and gums. The bacteria present in these pockets eats away at tooth and gum tissues, disintegrating your gums.
- Dry mouth - When there's not enough saliva present in your mouth, your oral tissues suffer. Your gums need that moisture to stay healthy and strong. Dry mouth irritates the gums and makes it easier for gingivitis to take hold. Your gums will look puffy, and may begin to recede.
If one of these issues has already taken hold of your mouth, there are restorative steps you can take at Elkhart Dental Center. We'll return your gums to health comfortably and efficiently.
Elkhart Periodontal Treatment
Periodontal disease is a dangerous ailment that can consume your mouth and smile. By taking action as soon as problems arise, we're able to minimize the damage. If you notice a combination of the following symptoms, it's time to give us a call:
- Red or purple gums
- Sore gums
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth pain
- Puffy gums
- Receding gums
- Gums pulling away from teeth
Rebuilding Weakened Gums
If your gums have succumbed to a periodontal problem, it's possible to turn back the effects of disease. Dr. Lee is able to rebuild your gums and tailor your gum line using treatments such as
- Gum grafts - After periodontal disease has ravaged your mouth, it's likely that your gum line has changed. Tender tooth roots may be exposed, and the tooth-gum display balance may be off. A gum graft will add healthy tissue to the gum line, making it a permanent part of the lacking area. A small portion of healthy gum tissue will be taken from elsewhere in your mouth and placed at the treatment site. Once healed, it will look like a natural part of your smile.
- Gum contouring - Your gums may not look exactly the way you would like them to. It's time to make some minor tweaks to the gum line. Contouring will create a smile with which you're thoroughly pleased.
Are you completely happy with your teeth? Many patients answer with something other than a resounding "yes!" - and it's that yes that we want to hear! Getting your smile to that perfect place is always possible. With a journey into the realm of cosmetic dentistry, you'll be able to alter your grin however you see fit. Dr. Sangyoung Lee is here to help.
Changes Possible with Elkhart Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is a varied and versatile field. Whether you're interested in modifying a single tooth, or creating an entirely new look, there are treatment options that mesh with your needs. The degree of change typically corresponds with the complexity of treatment - the more involved the transformation, the more invasive the treatment. That being said, there are always quicker and simpler alternatives. Dr. Lee will talk to you about what you're hoping to accomplish, and draft a treatment plan that suits you.
A few of the most common changes patients pursue include
- Straightening teeth
- Whitening teeth
- Lengthening teeth
- Covering cracks, chips, or break
- Adding structure to teeth
- Filling gaps between teeth
- Creating symmetry across a smile
- Remaking an entire smile
Depending on your cosmetic goals, your treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Teeth whitening
- Porcelain veneers
- Dental bonding
- Snap-On Smile
- Porcelain crowns
- Cosmetic contouring
Ensuring Your New Smile Lasts
Once your smile is in place, you'll want it to play a role in your future. Different treatments have different lifespans, but there are always things you can do to encourage their longevity. Home care for cosmetic work is similar to the way you already care for your natural teeth. It simply has the added benefit of keeping your smile gorgeous, as well as healthy.
Home Care for Cosmetic Dental Work
- Brush gently - Brushing your teeth is foundation of your oral hygiene. But are you doing it properly? Lackluster brushing could be hindering your health, and will increase the chances of your dental work failing. When you brush, you're both removing cavity-causing bacteria and cleaning stains from the external surfaces of your teeth. So excellent brushing leads to a whiter, healthier smile!
- Floss regularly - We're not all great flossers. It's a habit that tends to fall by the wayside. Get yourself flossing to protect your dental work and your teeth. Think about the food particles and bacteria that remain trapped between your teeth all night if they're not met with some floss - you want to get those out of there!
- Avoid staining agents - Unfortunately, some of the best beverages (coffee, tea, red wine) also infuse teeth with stains. Try to use a straw when drinking, or rinse with water immediately afterwards. Tobacco use also darkens your enamel (and damages your health). What's the use in whitening if daily smoking is going to take your teeth right back to yellow?
- Beware bruxism - Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, can go unnoticed for long periods of time. It occurs when you're sleeping, so many patients aren't aware of the clenching going on. But if you're waking up with headaches, sore teeth, and a tired jaw, you're likely grinding through the night. This breaks dental work - as well as natural teeth. A simple night guard will protect your teeth from the habit, and help you get some healthy sleep.
Interested in pursuing cosmetic dentistry for yourself? Get in touch to learn more about the first steps.