Jaws R Us.com
|Healthy gums are firm and pink.|
|Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. The gums are red, swollen and bleed easily.|
|Mild periodontal disease begins when gums begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets which fill with plaque.|
|More advanced periodontal disease progresses as pockets grow deeper and more bone and tissue loss occurs.|
|Severe Periodontitis has occured when teeth become loose from a large amount of bone and tissue loss.|
Back to Top
The Warning Signs of Periodontal or Gum Disease
|During your initial examination, a periodontal probing will also be done to assess the depth of the pockets around each tooth. A probe is like a tiny ruler. The probe is inserted gently in the pocket between the tooth and gums. The deeper the pocket, the more severe the periodontal disease.|
Back to Top
Periodontal Therapy: Your Options
If periodontal disease is caught early, a non-surgical option may be the only
treatment needed. A dental hygienist often does scaling and root planing, under
the periodontist's supervision.
|Scaling is a type of cleaning that removes plaque from the teeth at and slightly below the gumline. We may use a local anesthesia as this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning|
|Root Planing smoothes the root surfaces, so the supportive tissues can better reattach to the tooth surface. We may use a local anesthesia as this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning|
Antibiotics or an antibacterial mouth rinse may be prescribed to control the bacteria that causes periodontal disease.
You may be given a bite guard, a removable device that fits over upper or lower teeth, to protect teeth surfaces and relax jaw muscles.
If teeth are still loose because of bone loss, they may be splinted. This technique wires weak teeth together, combining them into a stronger single unit.
Back to Top
Surgical therapies treat the gum infections that are too advanced and pockets that are too deep to reach during a scaling and root planing. The periodontist will open your gums surgically to clean the pockets. He will then reposition your gums for easier cleaning at home and during follow-up appointments. There are various surgical options available.
|Flap surgery is performed when the periodontist gently separates the gum from the tooth, creating a "flap" and access to the infected pocket. This allows him to remove deep deposits of plaque. It also reduces the size of the pocket and the areas where bacteria can grow. Little or no gum tissue is removed. This procedure is performed with local anesthesia.|
A gingivectomy is performed by removing an overgrowth of gum tissue. By removing this excess gum tissue, the space in which bacteria can grow is elimated. This makes it easier to keep teeth and gums clean.
|When periodontal disease is more advanced, more extensive surgery may be needed. If bone loss has become a problem, bone surgery may be necessary. This procedure is used to smooth shallow craters in the bone due to mild or moderate bone loss. After gaining access to the bone with flap surgery, the bone is reshaped around the tooth to decrease the craters, making it harder for bacteria to grow.|
Other surgical techiniques include guided tissue regeneration which keeps unwanted gum tissue away from the tooth and bone. This allows ligament fibers to regrow and bone to reform so that the tooth has better support. Bone grafts act as a platform on which new bone can grow to restore stability to the tooth. Tiny fragments of bone are placed into areas of lost bone. Soft tissue grafts can be added to reinforce thin gums or to fill in areas where gums have receded.
The Good News...
The good news is that a combination of your own efforts and those of your periodontist and your general dentist should restore your gums and teeth to good health. Periodontal disease hase been with us for as long as we've had teeth, but we can now provide treatments that control the infection.
Back to Top