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Periodontics/Bleeding Gums

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Question
For the past year, I have been having issues with my gums bleeding. This ONLY happens when flossing. My gums are never sore or sensitive, nor do I bleed any other time of day, including brushing. When I floss, however, I tend to bleed. This doesn't happen every time, but it does happen a few times a week.

I have always been very meticulous about my teeth and gum care, brushing and flossing twice daily. I use a gentle GUM tooth brush and I am gentle when flossing. I also maintain a healthy diet that includes a good multi-vitamin.

I first experienced this bleeding when I had my last cleaning 6 months ago. When the hygienist scraped along my gum line, I bled a very large amount. The napkin under my chin was soaked. It was horrifying! The dentist gave me a prescription anti-bacterial mouth rinse. I used that for two weeks, but it didn't help at all.

When I floss now, the bleeding is usually minimal, but it concerns me. I am only 29 years old and gum disease does not run in my family (to my knowledge). I am also NOT pregnant (I have read that pregnant women can experience bleeding gums.) Is this definitely a form of gum disease, or could there be other causes for bleeding gums?

Answer
Bleeding gums is a symptom of gingivitis.  This is the body's reaction to exposure to plaque. Pregnency, birth control pills and menstruation can all make a person more sensitive to plaque.   Occasional bleeding may be related to your flossing technique.  You may be traumatizing the gums in certain areas on occasion when flossing.

I would suggest you ask your dentist about it the next time you are there.

Best of luck
Dr. Scharf

Periodontics

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David Scharf

Expertise

I am a board Certified periodontist which means that I am an expert in treating gum disease (periodontal disease) and placing dental implants. I can answer questions related to treating gum disease, bleeding gums, maintaining healthy gums, and structural issues with the gums such as recession, to gummy a smile, crown lengthening etc. I am also certified in Laser Periodontal therapy which allows me to treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel. I can address those questions as well.

Experience

I have been practicing periodontics and placing dental implants since 1990. I have treated thousands of patients for both gum disease and dental implants. I currently an a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at the nations largest dental school.

Publications
Journal of the American Dental Association, Journal of Periodontology, International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, International Journal of Oral and Maxilofacial Implants

Education/Credentials
BA/DMD Boston University Cum Laud. Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Periodontics fro New York University. Board Certification in Periodontics 1995

Awards and Honors
e was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon (the "Phi Beta Kappa" for dentists), and received the Boston University award for Excellence in Periodontology, the Boston University Predoctoral Prosthetic Award for Excellence in Prosthetics, and the Academy of General Dentistry Outstanding Senior Student Award, the Boston University Operative Dentistry Special Achievement Award, and the Quintessence Publishing Company Outstanding Senior Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice. Following dental school, Dr. Scharf completed a year long General Practice Residency at The Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. As a resident at this top New York program, he gained extensive clinical experience in such fields as prothodontics, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, management of the medically compromised patient, and general dentistry. This experience was completed by clinical rotations in the departments of general medicine, anesthesia, and emergency medicine.

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