If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry, you might have heard that it’s important to have good oral health before you can beautify your smile. Does this mean that you can’t get cosmetic dentistry if you have gum disease (also known as periodontal disease)? Not necessarily. 

The best way to know if you’re a candidate for cosmetic dentistry is to talk to an Irvine cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry. They can evaluate your oral health and let you know how it might impact the cosmetic procedures you need to achieve the smile you desire. 

mature woman smiling with teeth

Mild Gum Disease: Gingivitis

Mild gum disease is called gingivitis. In gingivitis, oral bacteria are attacking your gums. However, they haven’t really started separating your teeth and gums yet. 

Instead, at this stage, your gums are sensitive and swollen. They might also be painful to the touch and when you eat. They might bleed intermittently after brushing your teeth or eating, but they aren’t usually bleeding spontaneously. 

Gingivitis isn’t normally a concern for cosmetic dentistry. However, there are some procedures where your Irvine cosmetic dentist might recommend that you treat your gum disease before starting. At this point, that might just mean changes to your oral hygiene routine. We can give you tips for improving your routine, such as brushing more often, flossing regularly, or changing some of your tools. An electric toothbrush and water flosser can work miracles for some people. 

Then your Irvine cosmetic dentist will evaluate your gums again after a couple of weeks to see how well your gum disease has improved. If it looks good now, we’ll proceed with your treatment. 

Moderate Gum Disease: Periodontitis

In periodontitis, the attacks from oral bacteria are moving your gums away from your teeth. This exposes the roots of your teeth, which can lead to tooth sensitivity related to hot or cold temperatures, such as drinks or food. Your gums aren’t just red, inflamed, and painful; they probably bleed spontaneously. You might also notice that your teeth seem to be a little longer. This is the first hint of receding gums–your gums are suffering, and they need help. We need to intervene to make sure gum disease at this stage doesn’t jeopardize your cosmetic dentistry results. 

If you have this level of gum disease, your Irvine cosmetic dentist will probably recommend treating it before going ahead with dental work. Treatment at this stage might involve deep cleaning and medications, in addition to changes to oral hygiene. 

Severe Gum Disease: Advanced Periodontitis

In advanced periodontitis, your gums are receding visibly from your teeth. Your teeth are likely loose. They may have drifted around your mouth. You might even have lost a few teeth. 

Your Irvine cosmetic dentist will have to treat this level of gum disease before providing cosmetic dentistry. Treatment for this level of gum disease might include surgery and/or tooth extraction. In fact, if your gum disease is highly advanced, your best chance for a beautiful new smile might involve extracting your remaining natural teeth and replacing them with dental implants. Your Irvine implant dentist can utilize the All-on-X system to give you a beautiful new smile that is fully functional and highly durable. 

Other times, we might recommend advanced gum grafting to help restore your natural smile after gum disease. 

How Gum Disease Impacts Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

We’ve been focused mostly on gum disease severity, but it’s important to pay attention to how some procedures might be impacted by gum disease. 

Ideally, teeth whitening should not be impacted by gum disease. You shouldn’t get any of the whitening gel on your gums. If you do get whitening gel on already irritated and inflamed gums, you might experience significantly more discomfort. 

Porcelain veneers and crowns go on your teeth. However, they depend on your gums to cover the margin of the restoration and help keep your teeth healthy. If the tooth fails, you will lose your restorations, so your Irvine cosmetic dentist will try to avoid receding gums. 

Invisalign and other orthodontic procedures depend on healthy bone around your teeth. Healthy bone depends on healthy gums. Invisalign makes it harder to maintain good oral hygiene. It’s not as challenging as it is with braces, but if we have concerns about gum disease, we might recommend waiting to get Invisalign. 

Healthy and Beautiful Cosmetic Dentistry in Irvine

If you are unhappy with your smile, don’t let gum disease keep you from getting a beautiful new smile. Your Irvine cosmetic dentists at Rice Dentistry can help you address any concerns about gum disease either before or alongside your cosmetic treatments. 

To schedule an assessment of your smile, please call (949) 551-5902 or use our online form to schedule an appointment at Rice Dentistry in Irvine, near Discovery Park.