What If My Gums Are Bleeding?

Mar 4th, 2019
Easton Dentists Apr 4th, 2019

One of the top concerns of our patients at the Easton Dental Center have with their gums, it is that say that their gums bleed when they floss, and this is the reason why they stop flossing. If it is felt that flossing is not the issue, patients often say that their gums are overly sensitive, and that is why they bleed. We have also have heard from some female patients that they feel that gum bleeding may coincide with their monthly period.

After divulging that they their gums are bleeding at times, we usually hear “but a little bleeding is OK, isn’t it?”  Unfortunately, it is not.

Bleeding gums while flossing or brushing is neither healthy or normal.  Despite what you may have heard, noticing blood while brushing or flossing is a dental issue that needs to be addressed!

Having bleeding gums is a sign that a problem is present, and flossing too hard is not the primary cause, unless you are injuring your gums with a too aggressive flossing technique. Normally though, you just need a slight change to your dental care regimen.

Healthy gums should not be sensitive, nor should there be bleeding. This is a sign of an underlying battle occurring in your mouth, an inflammation caused by bacteria building up around your teeth and into your gums.  This is a symptom shouldn’t be overlooked and needs to be taken seriously.

If you don’t brush or floss often enough with the correct technique, dental plaque, a sticky biofilm of bacteria, grows and accumulates on the surfaces within your mouth and under the gum line. This condition bacteria accumulation leads to the inflammation of the gums, called disease called “gingivitis”.

More often than not, anyone who does not floss for a period of 2 weeks will likely develop gingivitis. Gingivitis can manifest itself in a mild or in a very aggressive and acute form, depending on the kind of bacteria involved.  This condition is completely reversible and heals after a professional dental cleaning and some changes in the oral care routine.

When plaque is not removed above and below the gum line for a long period of time, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar) that will further irritate and inflame the gums, along with destroying the bone.

If gingivitis is left untreated and if some other risk factors (smoking, diabetes, stress or genetic factors) are present, a much worse condition can occur.  This is a degenerative disease called “periodontitis”, which can lead to tooth loss.

Daily flossing is the best method to clean between the teeth and under the gum line in the prevention of this disease. Flossing not only helps cleaning these areas, but it also disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

Flossing cleans areas where toothbrushes can’t: if you are not flossing, you are only cleaning approximately 55% of all the areas in your mouth. If you floss infrequently, you can expect to see gum bleeding when flossing because plaque can form in a few hours and the tissue between your teeth won’t be used to stimulation. Once you start correctly brushing and flossing, your gums may feel sore and bleed a bit, but the bleeding should subside in a week or so. Regular flossing the gum tissue between your teeth makes them more resilient, clean and healthy.

Most patients will stop flossing an area that bleeds when flossed, though the opposite should occur. If bleeding occurs, you should change your habits and properly brush and floss more often. If you have been flossing for 7-10 days and your gums are still bleeding, it is time to see your dentist. Let your dental professionals evaluate your flossing technique and whether there is a need for gum treatment.

What Options Do I have When It Comes Down To Fillings?

Mar 2nd, 2019
Easton Dentists Apr 2nd, 2019

So you have an appointment with Dr. Brad to fix a cavity, the decayed area has been removed, and the site has been cleaned and prepared for a filling. Now it comes time to choose the kind of filling material to complete the job? What are my options?  Well, that depends. There are durability, aesthetic, and price considerations involved in any of your choices, so let’s look at some options before you decide.

Gold

This is a classic choice for a reason. Gold is very durable and can last longer than fillings made from other materials. Because they are crafted from precious metal, gold fillings are more expensive than other alternatives. They are also most often indirect fillings—that is, they are not immediately placed in a tooth, but are formed based on a mold of your tooth taken on your first visit and set in position on a second visit. A gold filling is also noticeable, which can be a matter of concern or a style statement!

Metal Amalgam

An amalgam is a mixture, and an amalgam filling is usually composed of several metallic elements, including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. This filling is also very durable and is one of the most cost-effective choices. Its silver color does not blend into the tooth, so visibility is a factor. Amalgam fillings are considered a safe option, but, if you wonder about potential metal allergies or the amount and kind of mercury involved, we will be happy to discuss your concerns. One possible drawback to amalgam fillings is that sometimes more tooth structure needs to be removed to accommodate them, so this is also a subject we can discuss.

Composite Resins

These fillings are often selected because they are both durable and almost invisible when the color is matched to your tooth. Made of acrylic resin and powdered glass, a composite filling is what is called a “direct filling”—one that can be completed and bonded to the tooth in one visit. These are often more expensive than amalgam fillings, but might be preferable for cosmetic reasons, especially when a front tooth is involved. They also need less tooth structure removed to accommodate them and can be better bonded to small excavations than some other options. They can be prone to staining over time.

Ceramic

Ceramic fillings have the virtue of being virtually undetectable. They can be color-matched to your teeth for a seamless look, and are more stain-resistant than composite fillings. They are also a more expensive option, and, like gold fillings, can involve a two-phase process with a filling molded to fit the excavation site placed in your tooth on a second visit.

The Dental Center at Easton is happy to discuss all of your options before it is time to treat your cavity, since there are a number of factors which might impact your decision. A molar will require a more durable filling than a front tooth, while being less visible when you smile or speak. Insurance plans might pay for only a portion of a filling’s cost if it is more expensive than an amalgam, or will pay for a composite filling only if it is in a visible location. We can help you decide which filling best fits all your needs, providing you with the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve!