Harrisburg, PA Dentist
Ernest Fontaine DDS
4221 Derry St
Harrisburg, PA 17111

(717) 564-1310
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By Ernest Fontaine, D.D.S.
March 26, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

Don’t give gum disease a fighting chance.

Gum disease is one of the most common dental diseases to affect American adults. In fact, as many as half of the adults in the US have some degree of gum disease, and some don’t even know they have it. Since gum disease is a progressive condition that can lead to gum and tooth loss, it’s important that you turn to our Harrisburg, PA, dentist Dr. Ernest Fontaine every six months for checkups to catch those less obvious early signs of gum disease.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to protect yourself against gum disease in the first place is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes,

  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing daily (crucial to keeping gums healthy and free of plaque and bacteria)
  • Using mouthwash after brushing and flossing
  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar and starches
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking
  • Visiting your Harrisburg, PA, family dentist every six months for checkups

Gum disease is preventable, and by maintaining good oral hygiene you can keep gums healthy and free from infection.

Signs of Gum Disease

Unfortunately, gum disease doesn’t often cause symptoms. That’s why many people with gum disease don’t even know they have it. Usually, gum disease won’t cause visible changes or symptoms until the more advanced and serious stages.

The goal of our dental team to be able to catch gum disease much sooner than that. This is why visiting your dentist twice a year is so important. We know exactly what to look for and how to measure the gums to check for early signs of gum disease.

Of course, it’s important to see your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms of advanced periodontitis,

  • Receding gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush and floss
  • Swollen, inflamed and tender gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Changes in your bite
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Loose teeth
  • An abscess on the gums, a pimple-like bump that is also a sign of infection

Treating Gum Disease

If your dentist has told you that you have gum disease the type of treatment you undergo will depend on the severity of the disease. Most patients can benefit greatly from improving their oral care routine and with non-surgical gum disease therapy. The most common way to treat gum disease is through a procedure known as scaling and root planing. Simply, it’s a very deep cleaning that removes plaque and tartar from under the gums and around the roots of the teeth to get rid of bacteria and reduce gum inflammation.

Whether you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease or it’s time to get a dental cleaning, turn to our dentist in Harrisburg, PA, for the care and treatment you need when you need it most. Call us at (717) 564-1310 to book your next dental visit.

By Ernest Fontaine, D.D.S.
February 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

What's the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults? if you guessed tooth decay, you're wrong. The Centers for Disease Control periodontal diseasein Atlanta state that it's gum disease. Yes, what people disregard as just a little blood in the bathroom sink can be an infection that degrades gum tissue and bone and also causes harmful systemic effects such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and more. What's to be done? Your Harrisburg, PA, dentist, Dr. Ernest Fontaine, performs non-surgical periodontal therapy to restore gums to vibrant and long-lasting health.

What gum disease looks like

To some people, it looks like nothing, but your Harrisburg dentist takes immediate notice of common signs of gum problems such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Puffiness
  • Redness
  • Bad breath
  • Gum pockets deeper than 3 mm
  • Gums pulling away from tooth surfaces
  • Change in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
  • Tooth mobility
  • Halitosis, or persistent bad breath
  • Pus at the gum line

Varying in intensity from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontitis, gum disease plays no favorites and can strike children through senior adults.

Causes of gum disease

While hereditary factors and age may contribute to the development of gum disease, plaque and tartar build-up in between teeth and at the gum really cause this infectious process. What are plaque and tartar? They are called biofilm, the carbohydrate-based food residues left over after meals and even after the most careful of brushing and flossing. Professional cleanings with Dr. Fontaine and his team remove this biofilm and its associated bacteria. Left to its own devices, however, the bacteria damage the gums and cause body-wide inflammatory changes.

Treating gum disease

Oral surgeons perform very advanced gum grafting techniques when periodontitis has caused substantial damage. However, for the more typical periodontal patient, non-surgical treatment will remove the deleterious plaque and tartar, smooth tooth surfaces and allow gums to re-attach.

This non-surgical service is called tooth scaling and root planing. The simple manual process scrapes away accumulated biofilm with small handheld instruments or ultrasonic tools. At the direction of your Harrisburg dentist, the hygienist also may instill antibiotics to quell infection and speed healing

The American Academy of Periodontology, specialists in gum disease, says that tooth scaling and root planing is very successful in most cases. Typically, after a "deep cleaning," the patient simply requires routine follow-up exams and cleanings every six months or at an interval determined by Dr. Fontaine.

Keep a healthy smile

Both your teeth and gums can thrive if you keep ahead of gum disease. If it's time for your regular check with your Harrisburg, PA dentist, Dr. Fontaine, please contact the office team for an appointment. Phone (717) 564-1310.