• The Importance of Periodontal Care

    A guide from our Capitol Hill, WA, family dentistry team

    As the first line of defense between your gums and gum disease (and treatment, should disease hit), periodontal care is an important component of overall oral health. By practicing regular gum care at home and visiting a dentist regularly, you can prevent periodontal disease from affecting your gums. If you have been diagnosed with a periodontal condition such as gingivitis, it is important to seek professional dental care as quickly as possible to have the condition treated. In this guide, our family dentistry team here at Zen Dental Center outlines the many reasons why periodontal care is important for the overall health of your gums and teeth. Read on to learn more, and contact our Capitol Hill, WA, dental center at (206) 324-1100 to schedule an appointment with our team today!

    What is periodontal disease?

    Periodontal care is necessary for the proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease. To understand why this is so important, it’s best to first learn a little bit about periodontal disease itself. Periodontal disease refers to any infection of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. Periodontal disease can be caused by a number of factors, including aging, bad habits such as smoking and poor diet, conditions such as diabetes, poor dental care at home, and failure to schedule regular dental checkups.

    Professional periodontal treatments

    By scheduling regular dental checkups, patients stand a much better chance of preventing periodontal disease and treating it should it occur. General dentistry teams like ours here at Zen Dental Center are trained to administer periodontal care, and to diagnose, treat, and prevent gingivitis and periodontitis in both children and adults. Should these conditions occur, they must be treated by a trained periodontal care professional. Periodontal treatments offered by our team here at Zen Dental Center include:

    • Routine teeth and gum cleaning: For those who do not have periodontal infection but display warning signs such as bleeding gums or plaque buildup, routine dental cleanings can often be enough to clean the mouth and halt the onset of periodontal disease.
    • Scaling and root planing: Those affected with periodontal disease will need more intensive cleaning procedures, scaling and root planing, to treat their condition. Scaling is performed with a small metal tool (called a scaler) in conjunction with an ultrasonic cleaner to remove excess tartar deposits below the gumline. Root planing then restores the shape of the gums to protect teeth roots.
    • Surgery: In severe cases, periodontitis can cause permanent damage to the gums and surrounding bone tissue. In these instances, surgeries such as skin and bone grafts are often necessary. Dental implants may also be used to replace teeth and decayed teeth roots.

    Contact our Capitol Hill, WA, dental center at (206) 324-1100 today!

  • Why Periodontists and Dentists Go Hand in Hand

    During a routine dental visit, you probably expect to spend most of your time with a dentist. They are the resident tooth experts after all, but other people are constantly popping in to work on your mouth as well. Dental assistants and hygienists are easy enough to understand – doctors have nurses to help them, right? – but why do you need to see a periodontist and what does that have to do with your teeth?

    A lot, actually.

    Both dentists and periodontists hold the keys to a healthy mouth. Here’s why!

    What is the difference between a dentist and a periodontist?

    A general dentist specializes in overall oral care, helping you maintain the health of your teeth through regular examinations, cleanings, and oral hygiene advice. They diagnose and treat decaying or injured teeth and perform a variety of non-surgical periodontal (gum) care such as treating mild gum disease through routine cleanings. Dentists can also help improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile with a variety of cosmetic procedures.

    Go to a dentist if you need a:

    •Routine cleaning

    •Standard x-ray

    •Cavity filled

    •Root canal

    •Crown or bridge

    A periodontist , on the other hand, is a dentist who has gone through additional training specific to the gum, bone, and connective tissues that surround and support your teeth. They diagnose and treat gum disease and perform a wide variety of gum-specific surgical and non-surgical procedures.

    Go to a periodontist if you need:

    •Deep pocket cleanings

    •Root planing

    •Soft tissue removal

    •Bone grafting

    •Implant replacement

    •Hard tissue recontouring

    Working together for the common good

    Dentists and periodontists often work in the same clinic, which allows them to collaborate on the treatment of patients. While the dentist focuses on the health and appearance of your teeth and any minor gum concerns, they may not be able to fully address major gum problems. If the dentist notices that your teeth are loose or your gums are tender, bleeding, or swollen, they may defer to the expertise of a periodontist since these symptoms may indicate gum disease (periodontitis). The periodontist will use a variety of methods to determine the extent of your condition and recommend treatments or surgical procedures to address the problem. By working together, dentists and periodontists can maximize the health of your teeth AND gums, which will help you maintain a beautiful smile for many years to come.

    Taking care of your teeth means taking care of your gums as well, so you need a full-service dental clinic that encourages collaboration between dentists and periodontists. At Zen Dental Center, our professional staff uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure that you receive the absolute best dental care. If you are interested in safe, gentle, and effective dental services in a comfortable and welcoming setting, then schedule an appointment with our team today!

    Get the best tooth and gum care by calling (206) 324-1100!

  • Periodontal Disease 101

    Periodontal Disease 101

    Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is more common than you might think. In fact, tens of millions of Americans have some form of gum disease, and many of them might not realize it. If you think you could have symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to see your dentist promptly. Periodontal care will prevent the problem from growing worse and causing serious complications, such as tooth loss.

    Stages of Gum Disease

    Periodontal disease is a progressive disease, which means it grows worse over time when left untreated. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It occurs when accumulated plaque and tartar on the teeth cause inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is indicated by red, swollen gums that tend to bleed when brushed or flossed. The next stage is periodontitis, during which the gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming deep pockets. These pockets can harbor more bacteria and worsen the infection. The toxins released by bacteria—and the body’s immune response to them—cause the deterioration of the connective tissue and the bone. Eventually, bone loss occurs, the teeth become loose, and tooth loss is possible. Some dentists recognize a third stage, called advanced periodontitis, during which these severe complications can occur.

    Causes and Risk Factors of Gum Disease

    Poor oral hygiene is among the most common causes of gum disease. You can protect your teeth and gums by scheduling dental exams and professional teeth cleanings once every six months. Following good oral hygiene practices at home will also significantly reduce your risk of gum disease. Smoking is the other major cause of gum disease. Hormonal fluctuations, certain medications, teeth grinding, poor nutrition, and certain diseases can also increase the risk of gum disease.

    Treatments for Gum Disease

    Like most medical problems, gum disease is best treated as quickly as possible. Gingivitis is easily reversed with professional teeth cleaning and a significant improvement in at-home oral hygiene. Patients are also strongly advised to quit smoking, if applicable. As gum disease becomes more advanced, it requires more intensive periodontal care. Treatments typically include scaling and root planing, medications, and perhaps oral surgery.

    Zen Dental Center is a leading provider of effective, yet gentle periodontal care in Seattle, WA. Our dentist accepts most major insurance plans, including United Concordia, Guardian, and MetLife. You can speak with a friendly member of our staff by calling (206) 324-1100.