Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons, which irritate the gums. They may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. However, don’t be fooled. With periodontal disease, bleeding, redness and swelling do not have to be present. Further, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease damages the teeth, gum and jawbone of more than 80% of the population by age 45
Periodontal treatment is necessary when various conditions affect the health of your gums and the regions of your jawbone which hold your teeth in place. Retaining your teeth is directly dependent on proper periodontal care and maintenance. Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become swollen and red. In later stages, the supporting bone is destroyed and your teeth will shift, loosen, or fall out. These changes not only affect your ability to chew and speak; they also spoil your smile.
Adults past the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and Periodontal Diseases is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily, and regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
SCED provides a variety of surgical services. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are very conservative in our treatment recommendations and limit surgery to the areas where it is absolutely necessary.
Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. Even in severe cases, non-surgical periodontal therapy often precedes surgical therapy. This is done to improve the overall tissue quality prior to surgery and also to help limit the areas requiring surgery.
Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. Even in severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical periodontal therapy often precedes surgical therapy. This is done to improve the overall tissue quality prior to surgery and also to help limit the areas requiring surgery.
Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. The first step is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits below the gumline.
The tooth roots may also be planed to smooth the root surface allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment.
Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, your doctor may place an antibiotic in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for your doctor to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.
These procedures are a predictable way to cover unsightly, sensitive or exposed root surfaces and to prevent future gum recession. If you are unhappy with the appearance of short unsightly teeth this can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures by Dr. Alan B.C. Maxwell and cosmetic dentistry by your dentist or Dr. Maxwell
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(Subepithelial connective tissue grafts) When recession of the gingiva occurs, the body loses a natural defence against both bacterial penetration and trauma. Gum recession is also a type of bone loss, which eventually leads to tooth loss. When gum recession is a problem gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option.
When there is only minor recession, some healthy gingiva often remains and protects the tooth, so that no treatment other than modifying home care practices is necessary. However, when recession reaches the mucosa, the first line of defence against bacterial penetration is lost.
In addition, gum recession often results in root sensitivity to hot and cold foods as well as an unsightly appearance to the gum and tooth. Also, gum recession, when significant, can predispose to worsening recession and expose the root surface, which is softer than enamel, leading to root caries and root gouging.
A gingival graft is designed to solve these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth, or gently moved over from adjacent areas, to provide a stable band of attached gingiva around the tooth. The gingival graft may be placed in such a way as to cover the exposed portion of the root.
The gingival graft procedure is highly predictable and results in a stable healthy band of attached tissue around the tooth.
The treatment option called crown lengthening is available to prepare a tooth for restorative dentistry or to cosmetically enhance your smile.
When decay occurs below the gum line, it may be necessary to remove a small amount of bone and gum tissue. Your dentist may ask for this procedure before he or she makes a new crown for your tooth.
If the front teeth are too short or of uneven length, crown lengthening might be indicated. Reshaping the gum and supporting tissues will allow your general dentist adequate room to place a quality final restoration.
Crown lengthening is used to correct what's commonly referred to as a "gummy smile." A gummy smile is apparent when the gum line appears to be creeping down over the teeth, making them appear short.
To correct a gummy smile, it is necessary to remove excess gum tissue, therefore allowing more of the natural tooth surface to appear.
Traditionally, gum disease is treated by eliminating the gum pockets. The infected gum tissue is trimmed away, and uneven bone tissue re-contoured. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are used routinely today.
This surgical procedure "regenerates" the previously lost gum and bone tissue. Most techniques utilize membranes, which are inserted over the bone defects. Some of these membranes are bio-absorbable and some require removal. Other regenerative procedures involve the use of bioactive gels.
At SCED we have two extremely talented and experienced dental hygienists who educate our patients in the care of their teeth and gums. They can demonstrate cleaning techniques and provide advice on the effects of diet.
Our hygienists work closely with our dental surgeons to carry out clinical treatments recommended by the latter, such as scaling and root planing and polishing to prevent and control periodontal disease.