If you are anything like the roughly 50 percent of American adults suffering from gum disease, then you’ve likely heard the word gingivitis before—maybe even from your dentist; but gingivitis is just the mildest form of periodontal disease. When left unattended gingivitis can progress into far more serious conditions. It is because gum disease is so common in Americans that knowing the ins and outs of periodontics is important.
Periodontal disease refers to any disease affecting one or more of the periodontal tissues: the alveolar bone (the ridge of bone that contains the tooth sockets), the periodontal ligament (the connective tissue fibers that connect the tooth to the alveolar bone), the cementum (the calcified substance covering the root of a tooth), or the gingival tissue (the gums).
What are Periodontics?
Periodontology is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with diagnosing, treating, and preventing periodontal disease. Periodontists are also tasked with replacing missing teeth using dental implants. Periodontists are specialized dentists, having completed three extra years of extra dental training compared to the average dentist. They are particularly concerned with maintaining the function, health and aesthetics of the jawbone and tooth supporting tissues.
When should I see my dentist about my gums?
If your gums are bleeding, sore, swollen, or inflamed, it may be time to visit your dentist. Also, look out for a receding gum line or permanent teeth that fall out. If you’re suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis, make sure to visit your dentist or periodontist regularly.
Condition such as smoking and diabetes increase your risk of periodontis by almost fifty percent, so make sure to increase your trips to the dentist accordingly.
What procedures can be done to help my gum disease?
Keep in mind that gum diseases are progressive, which means that they cannot be reversed; they can only be treated. At the Dental Circle we emphasize disease prevention, but are also adept at treatment. While personal oral hygiene is integral to maintaining a healthy mouth, make sure to have your teeth cleaned regularly by your dentist to prevent the development of gingivitis and cavities. Remember, as common as gum disease may be, gingivitis is no laughing matter. Oral inflammation and diseased gums can be painful and untreated gingivitis can result in tooth loss.
Procedures available to help gum disease include
-Gum Scaling (also called root planing), is a deep cleaning procedure meant to eliminate plaque and tartar as a means of decreasing inflammation. Gum scaling attempts to remove plaque buildup and other bacteria that forms deep within the gum pockets.
-Gum grafting, is a procedure deemed necessary when the patient’s gum line has receded significantly and the roots of the tooth are exposed. The roots must be covered for a number of reasons, including an attempt to decrease sensitivity and to prevent further root exposure. In this procedure healthy gingival tissue is taken from other parts of the mouth and surgically placed over the exposed area.
-Crown lengthening is the removal or restriction of the gum line. In this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the teeth. This procedure can be done in order to repair a tooth or to straighten an irregular gum line.
-Dental implants can permanently replace missing teeth caused by gingivitis, tooth decay, or other issues. Dental implants are designed to match your natural teeth.
-Pocket reduction surgery (also called flap surgery} reduces the depth of periodontal pockets. Periodontal pockets are harmful for a number of reasons, most importantly because they create habitable environments for virulent periodontal pathogens. Pocket reduction surgery reduces the depth of these pockets, which decreases the amount of plaque capable of sticking there.
-Regenerative procedures, regenerate lost bone and tissue supporting your teeth. These procedures can reverse some of the damage caused by periodontal disease. Gums are folded back, cleaned thoroughly and, in some cases, membranes, grafts, or proteins are inserted to stimulate natural tissue growth and development.
-Ridge augmentation. This procedure, often called “recontouring,” may be required to correct an uneven gum line. Before beginning treatment, a periodontist will need to treat any bacterial infections and periodontitis.
Gum disease can be painful and lead to severe oral complications, including tooth loss. Educate yourself on the topics, take preventative care, and schedule an appointment today. The Glendale dentists from the Dental Circle can help catch periodontal disease before it progresses, or help treat a problem that already exists.
Reasons for periodontal treatment
Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, which may present with symptoms like mild gum inflammation or bleeding. Even though initial symptoms seem mild, it is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world. Often characterized by red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums, periodontitis can occur without presenting any noticeable symptoms. The issues arise when bacteria living in plaque cause an infection in the surrounding tissues of the teeth, which causes irritation and pain. At its most progressed, this infection will cause the jaw to recede and the tooth to come loose.
Periodontal treatment may become necessary in the case of:
-Moderate/advanced gum disease, evidenced by bleeding, swollen, and red gums. At this point, the jawbone has begun to recede.
-Localized gum recession, which occurs after the gum disease advances. This infection usually begins in one area, but keep in mind that gum recession may also be caused by other factors like over-brushing. Immediate treatment is required to prevent further spreading of the gum recession.
In the all too frequent case of mild/moderate periodontal problems, the periodontist will focus on curing the underlying bacterial infection, and then providing advice on the most appropriate home cleaning methods. Sometimes a deep scaling is needed to remove the bacterial plaque and tartar from the teeth and tissues. More intensive cleaning may be recommended in the event that the jawbone has regressed significantly. Loose teeth that cannot be saved will be removed.
Luckily, periodontists are trained in all aspects of dental implant procedures. These procedures can restore functionality to the mouth when teeth have been affected by periodontitis. Periodontal disease is progressive, so it is vital to remove all bacteria and tartar build-up to halt the spread of the infection.