Family Dental Care in Venice, FL
At the dental office of Drs. Acker & Lehninger, we strive to help each of our patients achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts them a lifetime. Though we specialize in dental implants, we're proud to offer a variety of dental treatments to patients throughout the Venice, FL area. We strive to design a personalized treatment plan for each one of our patients. Wherever possible, we prefer to opt for preventative care – and dental hygiene is an important part of that prevention.
Dental Hygiene Appointments & Teeth Cleanings
For everyone over the age of four of five, visiting the dentist twice a year for a dental hygiene appointment is critical to dental health. In addition to performing a thorough deep clean of your teeth, hygiene appointments let us examine your teeth for decay and your gums for periodontal disease, which is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. In fact, 80% of adults have some form of gum disease without even knowing it! Our dental hygienists are specially trained to detect and treat gum disease, and if we do find problems, we'll work with you to treat them.
If we find problems during your hygiene appointment, we'll likely provide some recommendations for how you can change your at-home oral hygiene regimen. We may also recommend a more thorough, extensive cleaning procedure called Scaling and Root planing. This procedure helps to remove tartar from below the gumline, disinfect the area and kill any bacterial infections, and smooth out the root surface to prevent plaque build up in the future.
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a condition that's mainly caused by a bacterial infection in the sulcus, or the "pocket" between the teeth and the gums. Without diligent daily oral hygiene, bacteria can collect in the gums and begin growing on the teeth underneath the gum line. Over time, the bacteria harden into a sticky biofilm called plaque.
Plaque can be removed through brushing and flossing, but if plaque stays on the teeth too long, it can combine with calcium and other minerals and harden into "calculus" or "tartar." Tartar won't come off through brushing and flossing and can only be removed during professional teeth cleaning treatments.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition, and the first stage is gingivitis. Gingivitis refers to bacterially inflamed gum tissue, and it's usually identified by symptoms such as redness, swelling, and bleeding in the gums. Gingivitis is generally a mild condition and can be reversed by removing plaque and cleaning the teeth and gums. If we do remove plaque to treat gingivitis, it's critical to maintain a strong oral hygiene to prevent recurrence.
If gingivitis is left untreated for too long, it will advance to the next stage of gum disease, called adult periodontitis. Adult periodontitis is a more serious condition, and treating it requires careful removal of tartar and plaque from beneath the gum line as well as a Scaling and Root Planing procedure. We can treat most cases in our office, but in more serious cases, we may need to refer you to a surgical specialist. If left untreated for too long, periodontitis can eventually cause gum loss, bone loss, and tooth loss, and may even lead to conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and pregnancy complications.
Risk Factors for Periodontitis
Everyone is at risk for gum disease, but there are a few factors that significantly increase the risk. These include:
- Smoking or tobacco use of any kind
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Chronic stress
- Bruxism (grinding or clenching)
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- HIV or any immunosuppressive disease
- Hereditary factors
- Poor oral hygiene
Contact Your Dental Specialist in Venice, FL
Gum disease is a common problem, but it's entirely preventable and usually treatable. If you'd like to find out more about our services or how we can help you maintain a healthy smile, feel free to call us at (941) 484-3885 or reach out to us at our contact page. If you'd like to schedule an appointment, you can do so using our easy online form. We can't wait to hear from you!