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Pockets in your clothing are great. Air pockets help make aviation possible. Pockets on a pool table are what you’re aiming for.

But pockets in your gums? That’s bad news.

If you have those kinds of pockets, there is a good chance you are suffering from periodontitis, a form of gum disease.

With proper care, you will never have these kinds of pockets. If you do, visit Pioneer Dental Group in Oregon City. We can help without surgery.

Gum disease signs

Gum disease is fairly common in the United States, and 80 percent of Americans will experience some form of periodontal disease during their lives.

In most cases, people have gingivitis. This is considered the minor form of gum disease.  With proper treatment, this can be controlled and reversed.

Preventive care is always your best option. This is why we encourage our patients to brush for two minutes twice a day and to floss every day.

You also need routine cleanings and exams at your dentist.

Here’s why. Your mouth is full of the bacteria, and this bacteria is constantly trying to form plaque.

Proper brushing and flossing go a long way toward removing the bacteria and preventing plaque buildup. A professional cleaning will remove plaque from the harder to reach places and allow your dentist or hygienist to spot problems early.

If you don’t brush and floss and you skip your dental cleanings, plaque can lead to tartar. This is harder than plaque and more difficult to remove with brushing and flossing.

If you develop gingivitis, your gums can bleed while you are brushing or flossing your teeth, and your gums may appear red and swollen. This is a sign that you should improve your oral hygiene habits.

Reviewing videos by the American Dental Association on proper brushing and flossing technique may be helpful.

Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis if left untreated. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease.

People with this condition develop pockets in their gums. This is known as gum recession, and it occurs when your gums appear to be pulling away from your teeth.

When this happens, bacteria can get into the pockets between your teeth and gums. This makes an infection harder to reach, and it will require professional care to remove.

This infection can weaken the bones that hold your teeth in place or cause tooth decay. These could lead to your teeth falling out or feeling loose in their sockets.

Non-surgical treatments

We use non-surgical treatments at Pioneer Dental Group to help our patients who have gum disease. The types of treatments we use will depend on the severity of your periodontal disease.

The first step is root planing and scaling. This is considered a deep cleaning of your gums, and it goes beyond what you normally receive during your routine cleaning.

By doing this, we can remove tartar that has built up under your gums and around the roots of your teeth.

You also may receive an antibiotic. This will kill the infection and any disease inside the pockets of your gums.

Non-surgical methods are less painful and allow our patients to recover more quickly.

Your risk for gum disease

As we pointed out earlier, gum disease is fairly common, but mostly under control.

You should be aware of factors that may put you at greater risk of gum disease, however. Here are risk factors that have been identified by the American Academy of Periodontology:

  • Age – More than 70 percent of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Tobacco use – Tobacco use is one of the most significant factors that increases your risk of gum disease, not to mention cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.
  • Genetics – Your eye and hair color isn’t the only thing you may have inherited from your family. Even with proper brushing and flossing, some people are just more susceptible to periodontal disease.
  • Malnutrition – If you aren’t getting enough of the nutrients that your body needs, this can affect your immune system. A weak immune system has a harder time fighting off gum and other diseases.
  • Stress – Stress has been linked to many things including cancer and high blood pressure. You can add periodontal disease to that list as well.
  • Medicine – The side effects of certain drugs can affect your oral health. When you receive a prescription, talk to your pharmacist about side effects, including the potential effects on your oral health.
  • Clenching your teeth – Putting added pressure on your jaw can stress the supporting tissues in your mouth.
  • Systemic diseases – Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other diseases that interfere with your inflammatory system can increase your risk of gum problems.

Take action now … or you’ll need it later

As we said, preventive care is the best way to stop gum disease from becoming a problem. Being proactive in maintaining your oral health is important to keeping your gums and teeth healthy.

If you need a cleaning or you are concerned about gum disease, please call us at 503-388-4691 or use our online form. The team at the Pioneer Dental Group in Oregon City wants to keep you smiling.