Learn What Is Periodontal Disease, How It Can Damage Your Gums And Cause Bone Loss And How We Treat Periodontal Disease.

What Can I Expect From Periodontal Treatment?

There are many nonsurgical and surgical treatments your dentist or periodontist may choose to perform, depending on the condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended. 

The first step is to know if you may be developing the early signs of gum disease. We always recommend visiting your dentist or hygienist regularly for cleanings and checkups to prevent any complications.

 What Exactly Is A Periodontist?

Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. A periodontist is a dentist who has undergone specialized training in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of periodontal (gum) diseases. They are also the dental surgeons who place and maintain dental implants.

Periodontists perform a number of procedures but their main focus is on the following: Dental leanings (dental prophylaxis), Removal of calculus (tartar), Removal of plaque, Teeth polishing Periodontal Scaling & Root Planning Pocket Reduction Surgery Dental Implant placement.

What Exactly Is Periodontal Treatment?

Periodontal Treatment is a 3 step process at Steinway Family Dental Center.

Our First step is periodontal diagnosis. 
Diagnosis of periodontal disease - Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during an examination. This normally happens at your dental check-up or cleaning. 

Our Second step is periodontal treatment. 
The different methods of periodontal treatment depend on the type of periodontal disease and the severity. Once your dentist and hygienist have diagnosed the particular type of periodontal disease they will recommend the appropriate treatment. Our third step is periodontal maintenance. 

Many patients don’t realize that it takes 24 hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to become calculus. Patients who have a proper cleaning regime can control plaque and tartar formation. Difficult to reach areas will always have to be removed by the dentist, periodontist or hygienist.

Continued inflammation and infection of gum tissue (gingival) causes a gradual damage to the supporting jaw bone of your natural teeth. Lesions that are caused by inflammations due to improper oral hygiene and lack of professional dental cleaning are the cause of a majority of periodontal issues. As periodontal disease advances, the bone, ligament, and gingiva (gum tissue) will be damaged.

What Are The Long Term Conditions Associated With Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the tissues supporting the teeth, including the gums, bone, and periodontal ligaments. If left untreated, periodontal disease can have systemic implications and contribute to or exacerbate various medical conditions:

Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease, and gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. Poorly managed diabetes can, in turn, make gum disease worse, creating a vicious cycle.

Respiratory Infections: Bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs, leading to respiratory infections like pneumonia. This is particularly problematic for individuals with compromised immune systems. 

Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant women with gum disease may be at a higher risk of complications such as preterm birth and low birth weight. The exact mechanisms for this are not fully understood but are thought to involve the body's response to inflammation.

Cognitive Decline: Emerging research has explored potential connections between gum disease and cognitive decline, including conditions like Alzheimer's disease. The inflammation associated with gum disease may have an impact on brain health. 

Kidney Disease: Some studies have suggested that chronic gum disease may be associated with an increased risk of kidney disease. The exact nature of this relationship is still being investigated. 

Cancer: There is ongoing research into the potential links between gum disease and various types of cancer, including oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, and esophageal cancer. While associations have been found in some studies, more research is needed to establish causation. 

Osteoporosis: Both osteoporosis (a condition characterized by weakened bones) and periodontal disease involve bone loss. While they can co-occur, the relationship between the two conditions is complex and not fully understood. It's important to note that while these associations have been observed, they do not necessarily imply causation. Gum disease is a multifactorial condition influenced by various genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Nevertheless, maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking regular dental care is crucial not only for oral health but also for overall health and well-being. If you have concerns about gum disease or its potential impact on your health, consult with a healthcare professional or a dentist for guidance and treatment.

Obesity: Obesity and gum disease share common risk factors, such as poor diet and lack of physical activity. Additionally, inflammation associated with gum disease may contribute to metabolic dysfunction. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Some studies have suggested a possible link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic inflammation in gum disease may contribute to the development or worsening of this autoimmune disorder.

What Exactly Is Gingivitis? 

Gingivitis is the first stage of a patient’s periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products can irritate the patient gums causing inflammation, tenderness and bleeding.

What is Periodontitis?

Once plaque hardens into calculus and the plaque and calculus begin to build up the gums start to recede from the teeth. Larger pockets can form between the gums and it is possible that the teeth can become filled with bacteria and puss. There may be some bone loss present and the gums can become inflamed, irritated and begin to bleed.

1) Examination: The step is to let the periodontist measure the extent of your periodontal disease by a thorough examination. Dr Terranova will first review your dental history. He will measure how clean your teeth are, how inflamed your gums are and if they are loose or if they have shifted. If the periodontal probe that he uses shows that the pockets are deeper than 4mm then he knows that these can only be cleaned by professional help.

Dr Terranova will also confer with your physician. If you are taking certain blood medications such as Procardia, Norvasc or Plendil these can cause your gums to become swollen. He may advise you to change your blood pressure medication to one with a lessening side effect.

Dr Terranova may advise you how to clean your teeth correctly. Many people people don’t floss and brush properly. You can do harm by brushing and flossing too hard. This may cause gingival recession ( the shrinking of the gums from the roots of your teeth). This can cause longer looking teeth.

2) Scaling and root planing - This is the normal process for most patients. We firstly make your gums numb to make you more comfortable. We then carefully clean inside the pockets using a special vibrating tool called a Caviton or Ultrasonic. This will remove the plaque, tartar and germs from the teeth. Once the toxins and germs have been removed the gums will begin to heal.

3) Re-evaluation - We wait a month or so for the patient’s gums to respond to all the deep cleaning and improved brushing and flossing. As the tissue becomes healthier the pockets may shrink. We then re-measure the pockets to see if any areas need help.

4) Surgery - In some cases despite our efforts to be conservative periodontal surgery is required. The gum tissue is lifted back so that can look inside the pockets more clearly. He will then perform deep scaling and root planing with better visibility.

How does the dentist ascertain that you may have periodontal disease?

The dentist, hygienist or periodontist uses a periodontal probe in order to gently measure the sulcus (this the pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. A healthy sulcus measures 3 mm or less and will not bleed. The probe allows the dentist to indicate if the pockets are more than 3mm. As a patient’s periodontal disease progresses the pockets will become deeper. The dentist or hygienist uses pocket depths, the amount of bleeding from the gums and mobility of the teeth to make a proper diagnosis that will allow them to ascertain if you have periodontal disease.

The first defense in preventing new bacteria from attacking the gums is patients dental habits. 

For most patients beginning periodontal therapy will result in saving their teeth. If the periodontist, dentist or hygienist can make an early diagnosis, then the cure is simpler and the patient prognosis can be better. The periodontist highlights a few factors that can help save your teeth: Patients must stop smoking due to the fact that chemicals in the smoke can affect your gums. 

If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants give us a call at (276) 288-8721.