Periodontics: Periodontal disease (gum disease) is more common than you might think. Periodontal disease is serious, as it is not usually detected until it has reached advanced stages. Many people may have this disease without even knowing it. It is estimated that more than half of adults over the age of 30 have the disease in some form. Periodontal disease is serious. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. New research is exploring possible links between gum disease and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious ailments. The good news is that gum disease is treatable. If caught early it can be reversed. Regular dental checkups are critical in the prevention and detection of periodontal disease.
Signs Of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease occurs in the pockets where teeth and gums meet. If bacteria accumulates it will start to destroy the gums and jaw bone.
Bacteria increases from the plaque and tartar that build on our teeth. If plaque and tartar are not regularly removed, bacteria will start to increase and so does the risk of gum disease.
Although it is painless in the last stages, a dental professional can detect early signs of gum disease at regular cleaning appointments. In its late stages gum disease is characterized by red, swollen gums, bleeding during flossing or brushing, loose teeth and persistent bad breath.
Treatments For Periodontal Disease – Ensure The Health Of Your Gums
Before we talk about treatment, we like to talk about prevention. Regular checkups are the best way to prevent gum disease. At a regular cleaning your dentist and hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar that can lead to gum disease. They will also examine the gums for any signs of disease.
If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease there are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments available- depending on the severity.
We offer the latest treatments for periodontal disease but we always stress the importance of prevention. To ensure the health of your gums, contact our office for an appointment and be sure to make brushing and flossing part of your oral health care routine.
When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body begins to lose its natural defense against both bacteria and trauma. When recession begins to be a problem, gum reconstruction by grafting is an option.
When only minor recession is occurring and healthy gingiva is still present to help protect the tooth. No treatment other than modified home care is necessary.
However, when recession reaches the mucosa, root sensitivity to hot and cold foods and an unsightly appearance of the gum and tooth can begin to present itself. This can also lead to worsening recession and increased root surface exposure causing root caries and gouging.
A graft is done by taking a thin piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth or moved from a near by area to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth to cover the exposed portion of the root.
Crown or Tooth Lengthening
Crown or tooth lengthening can be performed for many different reasons; to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for an upcoming procedure or to correct a less than aesthetically pleasing smile due to an increased amount of gum tissue covering the teeth.
Often times, crown lengthening is required when a tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. Crown lengthening allows us to reach the edge of the restoration that is deep below the gum tissue, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth as well as provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease.
The procedure involves reshaping the gum tissue and sometimes bone around the tooth to create a new gum-to-tooth ratio. A series of small incisions help separate the gums from the teeth to allow the area to be reshaped accordingly. In most cases, even if only one tooth requires lengthening, the surrounding teeth will need some adjusting as well to create an overall natural look. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line.
The lengthening procedure takes approximately one hour under local anaesthetic but will depend on the amount of teeth involved or if any bone will need to be removed as well. Noticeable results will be seen immediately after surgery since the gums have now been repositioned showcasing your now longer teeth. However, the surgical area will take about two to three months to fully heal.
Bone and gum tissue should healthily fit around your teeth. If periodontal disease is present the tissue and bone do not support the tooth which forms “pockets” around the teeth. Without management, the pockets can become deeper which provides a larger space for bacteria to grow. When the bacterium grows, it can lead to bone loss as the bacteria damages the teeth and bone. Worst case scenario, if too much bone is lost the teeth will need to be extracted. Pocket reduction surgery is recommended to help reduce pockets which cannot be cleaned at home or by the dental hygienist as pockets are too deep. The procedure involves the gum tissue being gently moved away from the teeth and the bacteria are removed and area is cleaned. Irregular surfaces of damaged bone can be smoothed to create a healthier fit between the gum and bone.
Root Planning & Scaling
Some cases of acute periodontal (gum) disease that do not respond to more conventional treatment and self-care such as flossing may require a special kind of cleaning called scaling and root planning. The procedure begins with administration of a local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort. Then a small instrument either a “scaler” or an ultrasonic cleaner is used to clean beneath the gum line to remove plaque and tartar.
The root surfaces on the tooth are then planed and smoothed. This lets the gum tissue heal and reattach itself to the tooth.