Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. If plaque is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth, the plaque will begin to move below the gum line, sticking to the surface of the teeth which is not visible beneath the gums. Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. When this happens, the gums become irritated and inflamed. Gum tissue will begin to separate from the teeth and form spaces called “pockets”. Bacteria enters the pockets where they continue to spread irritation. If left untreated, this process will continue until bone and tissue around the teeth is destroyed.
Preventing Gum Disease
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings on a regular basis (two cleanings every year).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.
Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
Treating Gum Disease
The goals of gum disease treatment are to promote reattachment of healthy gums to the teeth, and to stop disease progression. Treatment options vary depending on the stage of the disease, the patients overall health, and how the patient has responded to previous treatments. The first option is nonsurgical therapy that controls the bacterial growth. This treatment is known as scaling and root planing. This is done during the patient’s periodontal maintenance, a cleaning done up to four times per year for patients who suffer from periodontal (gum) disease. This is a nonsurgical procedure where plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling), and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Scaling and root planing is done if Dr. Demetriou determines that you have plaque and calculus (hardened plaque, also known as tartar) under the gum line that needs to be removed.
If the patient’s periodontal disease is at an advanced stage, Dr. Demetriou may recommend a more aggressive treatment. These treatments are surgical procedures aimed toward reversing the progressing gum disease. These options include:
- Flap Surgery/Pocket Reduction Surgery
- Bone Grafts
- Soft Tissue Grafts
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
- Bone Surgery
Important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition