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Pacific View Smile Center

Kari L. Sakurai, DDS, Inc.

General Dentist & Cosmetic Dentist located in Santa Monica, CA

Your gums are just as important as your teeth when it comes to your oral health, but many people neglect to take proper care of them. Kari Sakurai, DDS, is a highly skilled dentist providing excellent periodontics services at Pacific View Smile Center in Santa Monica, California. Get on track to a healthier smile today and schedule a visit by calling the office or booking online.

Periodontics Q & A

What is periodontics?

Periodontics is a dental specialty that keeps your gums healthy. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults, making periodontics an essential tool in keeping your mouth healthy. 

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a condition where your gums develop a bacterial infection. It typically happens when you let plaque sit on your teeth for too long.

Plaque is a natural byproduct that forms on your teeth when you eat or drink substances that contain sugars and carbohydrates. You can easily remove plaque with simple brushing and flossing, but if you let it stay on your teeth for too long, it can harden and turn to tartar, which requires a professional cleaning to eliminate.

Plaque and tartar are full of bacteria and acids that irritate your gum tissues. In the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), your gums become irritated by those acids and bacteria, leaving them swollen, red, and tender.

If left untreated, gingivitis advances to periodontitis, in which your gums begin to pull away or recede from your teeth in an attempt to avoid the plaque and tartar buildup. This recession creates empty spaces or pockets between your teeth and your gums, which are susceptible to collecting more debris and bacteria, further exacerbating the condition.

If left untreated, periodontitis eventually destroys the structures holding your teeth in place, leaving your teeth to fall out.

Do I have periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can produce any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent and bad taste or smell in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums, or teeth that look longer
  • A bite that feels slightly off or different

Gum disease often develops silently, though, so you might not recognize that you’re experiencing any of these symptoms until the condition is in its more advanced stage. Because of this, it’s important to maintain regular cleanings and exams with Dr. Sakurai, who can spot gum disease in its earliest stages.

What periodontics treatments do you offer?

Dr. Sakurai can treat gingivitis with more frequent dental cleanings and education on better at-home hygiene practices.

If your gum disease is in the periodontitis stage, she might suggest a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing the plaque and tartar buildup from your tooth surfaces both above and below your gum line, while root planing involves smoothing the surfaces of your tooth roots to make it more difficult for plaque and tartar to build up.

The best way to keep healthy gums, however, is prevention. You should thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and maintain regular cleanings and checkups with Dr. Sakurai. Schedule your periodontics visit with Pacific View Smile Center by calling the office or booking online.