Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the gums that surround and support your teeth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Since gum disease is typically painless, many patients may not be aware they have it. During regular checkups at the dentist, the space between your teeth and gums will be measured to determine whether or not your mouth shows any signs of gum disease.

Although the main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in plaque, there are several other oral habits, diseases, and medicines that can increase your risk of gum disease or worsen it once the infection has already set it. Genetics, smoking and tobacco use, crowded teeth, bridgework, stress, poor nutrition, and clenching or grinding of the teeth are all correlated with gum disease.

Text: Justin Bieber wore Invisalign in 2011 and removed his aligners to show them off to the  public at the BRIT Awards.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

When your gums are healthy, they are firm and pink in color. They also fit snuggly around your teeth. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of gum disease are swollen or puffy gums, gums that bleed easily, gums that feel tender when touched, and gums that pull away from your teeth and make them look longer. Bad breath, pain when chewing, changes in your bite, and new spaces between your teeth are also signs of gum disease.

You should adhere to your recommended schedule for orthodontic checkups. However, if you notice any of these symptoms of gum disease, it is in your best interest to make an appointment as soon as possible. Remember that the sooner you seek medical attention, the better your chances are of reversing any damage that may have occurred. 

Treating Gum Disease

If gum disease is caught early on, there are a number of treatments that can help. Scaling and planing is the most common one. While scaling removes tartar and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth and beneath your gums, planing smoothes the surfaces of your roots to prevent further tartar and bacteria buildup. Taking oral antibiotics can help control bacterial infection too.

For more advanced cases of gum disease, flap surgery may be necessary. During this procedure, a periodontist will make tiny incisions in your gums so that gum tissue can be lifted back and the roots can be exposed for scaling and root planing. Although they aren’t as common, soft tissue grafts and bone grafts may be an option as well.

Text: Invisalign aligners are made from a special plastic called SmartTrack®, which is free of latex, gluten, BPA, or BPS.

Preventing Gum Disease

There are certain lifestyle habits you can practice to reduce your risk of gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily. Consider investing in an electric toothbrush as it can be more effective at removing plaque and tartar than a traditional one. Also, avoid smoking and get regular cleanings from your dentist. Our Wilmington, NC dental friends at Riverside dental have had a growing number of younger patients asking about gum disease. It is never too early to start prevention. 

Invisalign Does Not Lead to Gum Disease

Here at Orthodontics Only, many patients have wondered if Invisalign could contribute to the cause of periodontal disease. Fortunately, Invisalign will not lead to gum disease in healthy patients. What some Invisalign patients report is known as gum recession. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue is recessed and lowers its position on the tooth, creating exposure in the roots of the teeth.

In most instances, Invisalign is not likely to cause recession. This is because Invisalign movement is strategically planned with the periodontium or the specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth, in mind. If a patient does have recession, an orthodontist will carefully evaluate this condition prior to arranging an Invisalign treatment plan. Patients who are diagnosed with recession should get it treated before undergoing Invisalign or any other orthodontic treatment.

A periodontist or a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease can perform a simple procedure known as a frenectomy to help those with a recession. A frenectomy involves removing or repositioning the frenum or the muscular attachment between two tissues that prevents tissues from moving too far. There are three frena within a mouth that can lead to recession.

Text: While the average Invisalign treatment time is between 12 and 18 months, some patients notice a difference in their smile within several weeks.

Since there is no metal to work around, Invisalign actually reduces the chance of plaque retention and gum disease. If you’re interested in Invisalign treatment, contact Derek Sanders of Orthodontics Only today. We will evaluate your mouth prior to make sure it is free from a recession ready for Invisalign.