Preventing and Treating Gum Disease

Your gums play a significant role in your oral health and it’s important to take care of them. Unfortunately, periodontal (gum) disease is more common than you may think. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 47.2% of adults over 30 had some form of periodontal disease.

The good news is that gum disease is preventable in the majority of cases. If it is caught early, it is also treatable.

Stages of Gum Disease

To understand how to prevent periodontal disease, it’s helpful to know how it progresses. There are four different stages.


In this phase, bacteria have not begun to damage your teeth. The disease affects the gingiva, which is the part of the gums around the base of your teeth. Your gums may be sore and more prone to bleeding while flossing.

Early/Slight Periodontitis

If gingivitis progresses without treatment, it becomes mild periodontal disease, also called periodontitis. At this point, your gums pull away from your teeth, creating small “pockets.” Bacteria will often invade these pockets and cause more bleeding and increased sensitivity.

Moderate Periodontitis

As bacteria continues to invade pockets between your gums and your teeth, your teeth start to loosen. Bone loss begins to occur at this point.

Advanced Periodontitis

At this point, bacteria has caused severe destruction of your teeth and jaw bone. Advanced periodontal disease is extremely painful and the risk of tooth loss is high.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

It’s essential to take the steps to prevent gum disease before it occurs. Although it can be treated in the early stages, it is better for your oral health to avoid the issue altogether.

You should:

  • Practice good dental hygiene. Brush twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Avoid smoking, as this can increase your risk.
  • See your dentist every 6-12 months for cleanings. You may need to visit more often if you have an increased risk of gum disease due to a medical condition or medication you are taking.

Gum Disease Treatment

For Gingivitis

When gum disease is in its earliest stage, it can often be reversed with a professional cleaning and adjustments to your home dental care routine.

For Periodontitis

To treat periodontitis, it is necessary to use a type of deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. This removes plaque buildup below your gum line. Depending on the severity, you may also need to schedule additional cleanings throughout the year and/or take antibiotics.

Restorative Dentistry

If your gum disease has progressed to the advanced stage, we may recommend more intensive dental care. You may have lost some teeth by this time and others may need to be extracted. We will work with you to develop a plan to restore your smile, which may include dental implants. Our restorations are realistic and tailored to you.

Schedule Dental Care

Consistent visits to your dentist can help prevent gum disease and reduce the need for more extensive treatment later on. Dr. Atty Smith is here to help you care for your teeth and gums. We treat patients of all ages.

If you have symptoms of gum disease or want help preventing future issues, contact us today.

Signs You Could Benefit From Invisalign Treatment

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you and if you aren’t happy with how your teeth look, it can have a large impact on your confidence. Luckily, there are many solutions to help correct cosmetic and orthodontic issues. For adults with crooked teeth, Invisalign treatment can be a great way to straighten your smile without the need for awkward metal braces. Dr. Smith is a preferred Invisalign dentist and can evaluate whether this option is right for you.

Some signs you might benefit from Invisalign:

You Are Unhappy With Your Smile

First and foremost, the biggest reason to consider Invisalign is if you are unhappy with how your smile looks. Feeling self-conscious about your teeth can take a toll on your wellbeing and it’s worth a visit to a professional to see what your options are. Even if clear aligners are not the best fit, we can typically make a recommendation for a cosmetic or restorative treatment that matches your needs and desires.

You Notice Symptoms of a Misaligned Bite

Crooked teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue. If your bite is misaligned, you may notice jaw pain when eating, uneven sensitivity, or even headaches. A dental professional can examine your teeth and determine whether misalignment is the cause. Invisalign can treat mild or moderate overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.

Your Orthodontic Issues are Not Severe

While Invisalign can be used to address a wide range of orthodontic concerns, there are some issues it may not be able to fix completely. If you have severe crowding or misalignment, we may recommend a different route for treatment. The aligners may also be less effective if you have short or rounded teeth.

You Practice Good Oral Hygiene

It’s important to practice proper dental hygiene when undergoing Invisalign treatment. You will want to be sure any problems, such as tooth decay, are treated before you get clear aligners. Additionally, you will need to take care of the aligners and keep your teeth clean while using them to prevent any issues.

You Don’t Smoke

In order for clear aligners to work properly, you need to wear them for 22 hours a day at a minimum. You should plan to only remove them to eat or while brushing/flossing. Taking a smoke break can reduce the overall time you wear the aligners and so you might not see the results you are hoping for. Additionally, nicotine can stain your Invisalign trays, not to mention your teeth.

The Process of Getting Invisalign

The first step is a consultation with our Invisalign dentist. We will examine your teeth and give you recommendations for treatment. We also take a 3D scan that we then use to show you projected results for treatment. You will need to come into the office every few weeks but can usually switch aligners at home. The average length of time for treatment is 12 months, although this might be longer or shorter depending on your specific concerns.

Ready to Straighten Your Smile?

If you are interested in Invisalign treatment, call our Oro Valley dentist office today.