My Blog

Posts for tag: gum disease

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 21, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

GumsGum disease can sneak up on you. You may only notice a small amount of bleeding when you brush and floss. The bad news is, if gum disease goes untreated, there is a good chance it will turn into periodontal disease, and you could lose your teeth and your smile. Dr. Steven F. Hinchey at Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in South Glastonbury, CT, can help you reverse your gum disease, before it can do more damage.

So, how do you know if you have gum disease? There are some signs and symptoms in your gums you will notice, including:

  • Swelling and puffiness
  • Irritation and pain
  • Redness and bleeding
  • Gum pain when you eat
  • Frequent bad breath

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis or gum inflammation, is caused by bacteria contained in the plaque which clings to your teeth. The good news is, you can reverse gum disease and bring your gums back to good health. You must begin practicing excellent oral hygiene, which should include:

  • Brushing after eating and before bed
  • Flossing at least once each day
  • Visiting Dr. Hinchey for an exam and x-rays at least once each year
  • Visiting your dentist for regular professional cleanings at least every six months

If gum disease goes untreated, bacteria begins to infect and damage more than just soft tissue. The infection can spread to the bone, ligaments, and fibers that hold your teeth in place. When you start losing soft and hard tissue attachment, your teeth can become loose. They may even fall out or need to be removed, resulting in expensive replacements like dental appliances and dental implants.

The key is to reverse gum disease before it can cause more damage. Start a program of excellent oral care at home, along with seeking help from your dentist and dental hygienist. For more information about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of gum and periodontal disease, call Dr. Steven F. Hinchey at Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in South Glastonbury, CT. Call now and protect your smile!

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
December 18, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 65 million American adults have an advanced form of periodontal disease — about half of adults aged 30 or older. This potentially serious condition can affect both your dental and general health and keeping it under control is crucial to your oral health. Find out more about how gum disease can affect your health and how your dentist can help treat it with Dr. Steven Hinchey at the Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in Glastonbury, CT.

What is periodontal disease? 
Periodontal disease — also called gum disease — occurs when decay reaches under the gums and causes them to become irritated and painful.

  • Gingivitis: Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, a condition which causes discomfort and irritated gum tissue. Gingivitis can be reversed with professional teeth cleaning followed by continued proper flossing techniques.
  • Periodontitis: If left untreated, gingivitis advances into periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease. This condition causes the gums to begin receding, pulling away from the teeth and creating pockets in the tissue. Bacteria and food particles become trapped in these pockets, causing them to become infected.

Do I have gum disease?
Bloody gums while you brush or floss your teeth is actually one of the earliest symptoms of gum disease. In fact, correct and consistent brushing and flossing can help reverse this symptom. Gum disease produces some other tell-tale symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain and discomfort in the gum tissue
  • Red, irritated gums
  • Unexplained bad breath
  • Swollen, sore gums

Gum Disease Treatments in Glastonbury, CT
Gum disease is treatable with help from your dentist. Bacteria which finds a home on the teeth and is left to advance turns into a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque then hardens into tartar, a substance which only a professional dental cleaning can remove from the teeth. If left untreated, tartar begins eating away at the tooth to infect it with decay, resulting in a cavity. Seeing your dentist regularly for examinations and cleanings is essential for keeping your smile healthy and clean.

For more information on gum disease, please contact Dr. Steven Hinchey at the Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in Glastonbury, CT. Call (860) 633-6518 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Hinchey today!

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
December 17, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
LasersCouldbetheFutureforGumDiseaseTreatment

We’ve developed a number of effective treatments for periodontal (gum) disease. Depending on how far and deep a patient’s infection has advanced, treatment can be quite invasive and even require surgery. The more invasive, the longer and more uncomfortable the healing process can be.

But using a medical laser could make that less so. Although its use for gum disease treatment is still in its infancy, the latest observations from the field seem to show patients undergoing laser treatment may have less tissue trauma and bleeding, less discomfort after the procedure and quicker healing times.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection mostly caused by dental plaque, a thin film of food particles that build up on teeth in the absence of effective oral hygiene. The infection can advance deep below the gum line, weakening gum attachment to teeth and destroying supporting bone. Ultimately the affected teeth can be lost.

Traditionally, the only way to stop the disease is to manually remove plaque buildup on teeth and gum surfaces, which is continuing to sustain the infection, with special hand instruments called scalers or ultrasonic equipment. Because it’s important to remove as much plaque and diseased tissue as possible, we may need to perform a surgical procedure called flap surgery to move some of the gum tissues out of the way to get to these deeper areas. As with any surgery, this can create tissue trauma that may cause discomfort during the healing process.

Our new alternative is to use an Nd:YAG medical laser in a procedure known as Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure or LANAP. With light energy delivered through a small fiber no more than the width of three human hairs, the laser can pinpoint diseased tissue and destroy bacteria through intense heat. Because of the laser beam’s tiny width and pulsing action, healthy tissue is at less risk for trauma than with the traditional treatment.

Coupled with other techniques, LANAP procedures could remove as much infected tissue and plaque as traditional methods, but with less healthy tissue trauma. In the future, then, patients with advanced gum disease undergoing laser treatment could have less bleeding and discomfort and faster healing times.

If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treating Gum Disease with Lasers.”

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
December 19, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   oral health  
BoostYourOverallHealthbyReducingGumInflammation

The human body’s immune system has amazing defensive capabilities. Without it a common cold or small wound could turn deadly.

One of the more important processes of the immune system is inflammation, the body’s ability to isolate diseased or injured tissue from unaffected tissue. Ironically, though, this vital component of the healing process could actually cause harm if it becomes chronic.

This often happens with periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gums caused by bacterial plaque built up on teeth due to inadequate hygiene, which in turn triggers inflammation. The infection is often fueled by plaque, however, and can become difficult for the body to overcome on its own. A kind of trench warfare sets in between the body and the infection, resulting in continuing inflammation that can damage gum tissues. Untreated, the damage may eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In treating gum disease, our main goal is to stop the infection (and hence the inflammation) by aggressively removing plaque and calculus (tartar). Without plaque the infection diminishes, the inflammation subsides and the gums can begin to heal. This reduces the danger to teeth and bone and hopefully averts their loss.

But there’s another benefit of this treatment that could impact other inflammatory conditions in the body. Because all the body’s organic systems are interrelated, what occurs in one part affects another especially if it involves inflammation.

It’s now theorized that reducing gum inflammation could lessen inflammation in other parts of the body. Likewise, treating other conditions like high blood pressure and other risk factors for inflammatory diseases could lower your risk of gum disease and boost the effectiveness of treatment.

The real key is to improve and maintain your overall health, including your teeth and gums. Practice daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque, and visit your dentist regularly for more thorough cleanings. And see your dentist at the first sign of possible gum problems like bleeding, redness or swelling. You’ll not only be helping your mouth you could also be helping the rest of your body enjoy better health.

If you would like more information on the relationship between gum disease and other systemic conditions, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Link between Heart & Gum Diseases.”

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
October 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  
DontDelayTreatmentofGumDisease

Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection, which if left untreated could cause gum recession, bone loss and eventually tooth loss. Caused mainly by plaque left on tooth surfaces from poor hygiene practices, the deeper the infection spreads below the gum line, the more difficult it is to treat.

One possible scenario involves parts of a tooth’s root structure known as furcations. These are branching forks formed during the early development of teeth with multiple roots where they take different paths from the base of the crown. As gum disease spreads around the root it may cause different degrees of bone loss at the point of the branch.

It’s imperative when treating gum disease to uncover and remove any bacterial plaque or calculus (hardened plaque deposits) found, including below the gum line. To address bacterial plaque at the root level, it’s important to first determine if bone loss has involved the furcations (where the roots separate, also referred to as a “furcation invasion”) and to what degree.

We usually classify this degree of involvement in three classes: Class I, the invasion has created a groove in the furcation, but minimal significant bone loss; Class II, the bone loss has extended into the furcation by at least two millimeters; or Class III, the bone loss extends completely from one end of the furcation to the other (or “through and through”).

Depending on the class, cleaning plaque and calculus from furcations and then maintaining them thereafter can be quite challenging. We may need to use specially shaped hand instruments known as scalers or curettes to reach and clean root surfaces, or ultrasonic scalers that use high-frequency vibrations and streaming water to loosen and flush away plaque debris. It may also prove helpful, though limited, to apply antimicrobials or antibiotics to the area to help limit the levels of bacteria.

Disease damage around furcations may also require surgical treatment to encourage new tissue and bone growth in the area. Surgery can also help make the area more accessible to future cleaning and maintenance, both for you and us. Renewed hygiene practices on your part and regular cleaning and checkups with us will help ensure that the situation involving your tooth roots can be kept under control and your tooth preserved for many years to come.

If you would like more information on treatments for gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.