Periodontal Treatment

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Periodontal or gum disease is a pathological inflammatory condition of the gum and bone support (periodontal tissues) surrounding the teeth. Early detection is vital to stopping the progression of gingivitis.

SYSTEMIC EFFECTS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE

The Connection to Cardiovascular Health

Bleeding gums can allow harmful bacteria to enter your bloodstream.  Research indicates that the bacteria associated with periodontal disease may cause inflammation in the arteries.  This inflammation can lead to the buildup of fatty deposits and the formation of blood clots that can block your arteries, triggering a heart attack or stroke.  The plaque bacteria can also cause you to develop a heart condition called infective endocarditis.  This is a potentially fatal bacterial infection endocarditis.  This is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that inflames the sac around the heart, the valves of the heart and heart muscle itself.   If we determine you have periodontal disease, we will work with you on frequent professional cleanings and re-care appointments as well as a suitable oral hygiene routine.

 The Connection to Diabetes

Diabetic patients are at a greater risk of suffering from oral infections and diseases, including periodontal disease.  Diabetes contributes to periodontal disease in three ways:

  1.  It lowers your body’s ability to fight off infection
  2. The results of higher blood sugar levels allow bacteria that cause periodontal disease to thrive in your mouth.
  3. It causes dry mouth or xerostomia; saliva is vital in helping to wash harmful bacteria away that cause periodontal disease.

If you are diabetic it is important for you to prevent or control periodontal disease through proper home care, regular dental cleanings, prescribed antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent dental exams.  With good dental and medical care, your gums and teeth can remain healthy and free of periodontal disease.

 The Connection to Low Birth Weight

Researchers have discovered that women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to deliver a premature or low birth weight baby than women with healthy gums.  The harmful bacteria that cause periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.  Your body reacts to this infection by producing a natural hormone-like chemical called prostaglandins.  During normal pregnancies, the level of prostaglandins produced by the body, gradually increases and then peaks when labor begins.  IF extra prostaglandins are being produced in response to infected gum tissue, one research theory suggests that your body may interpret this as  signal to go into labor, causing your baby to be born too soon and too small.

Prevention of periodontal disease during pregnancy is important for the health of the unborn child.  We recommend daily brushing and flossing after each meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.  If you are nauseated by the toothpaste, your can brush with plain water and rinse with an anti-plaque or fluoridated mouthwash.  Be sure to have regular professional dental cleanings and exams to monitor the health of your mouth.

 GINGIVITIS:  The first stage of periodontal disease

Gingivitis is the swelling and inflammation of the gums that is caused by the accumulation of plaque, the sticky film of food and bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth.  Plaque must be removed from your teeth daily in order to prevent the bacteria and their toxins from invading your gum tissue. If not, these toxins will irritate and inflame the gum tissue, causing them to bleed and swell.  If gingivitis is caught early, it can be easily reversed.  However, left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease, a more serious condition that can lead to eventual tooth loss.

 Early warning signs are redness and swelling of the gums, bleeding when brushing and flossing, bad breath and usually no pain.  Early detection is vital to stopping the progression of gingivitis.

 PERIODONTAL DISEASE:  The leading cause of tooth loss

As gingivitis progresses and toxin levels increase, combined with your body’s reaction to the toxins, the bone around your teeth is destroyed.  Once your bone support has been lost, it will never grow back on its own.  When too much bone support is lost, the teeth become loose and have to be extracted. 

The warning signs are much the same as gingivitis:  bleeding of the gums when brushing and flossing, soft, swollen and tender gums, especially between the teeth, receding gums, persistent bad breath and in most cases no significant pain.  Most people with periodontal disease may not even be aware of it. 

Once again, early detection and treatment are vital to maintaining healthy gum and bone tissue. We offer the latest treatments to stop the damage caused by periodontal disease-the nations leading caused of adult tooth loss.  These include soft tissue management and deep scaling, new pharmaceutical and new tissue regenerative procedures, and if needed, periodontal surgeries to bring your gums back to health.  The gum and bone tissue are the foundation of a healthy smile.
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  PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE:  Vital to your oral health

Currently there is no cure for periodontal disease.  Once you have perio disease, it can only be controlled.  Initial treatment includes scaling and root planning to remove the plaque, tarter and bacteria from below your gum line.  While the treatment disrupts the growth of the bacteria, some bacteria may remain and settle back into the pocket where they continue to reproduce.  In fact, the number of bacteria doubles every time they reproduce.  At that rate, the bacteria can reach destructive levels in as few as 90 days.

That is why it is vital to have frequent checkups and maintenance cleanings (at least every 3 months or sooner).  Periodontal maintenance visits help break the stronghold effect of bacteria in your gums and slow or eliminates their destructive effects.

PERIODONTAL SURGERIES

GINGIVAL GRAFT:  Also known as soft tissue grafting

This procedure is used to replace the gum tissue that has pulled away from the tooth exposing the root surface.  The gum recession may be due to periodontal disease or improper brushing techniques.  When gums do not completely cover the root surfaces, not only does the apparent lengthening of the teeth age a person’s smile, it can also make the tooth root more susceptible to decay and painful sensitivity.  Through the use of gingival grafting we can repair the loss of gum tissue and restore your healthy looking smile.

 BONE GRAFTING

Bone grafting can be used to replace lost bone from your jaw.  The loss of bone may be due to periodontal disease, tooth extraction, trauma, a cyst or long-term tooth loss.  The grafting material may be your own natural bone, bone tissue from another source or artificial bone.  Although your body can not normally grow new bone on its own, through the use of bone grafting, we can help your body replace lost or missing bone, fill in pockets of bone loss and stimulate new bone and soft tissue growth.  Generally it takes an average of 4 months for your body to repair the grafted site by growing new soft tissue and bone.

 GINGIVECTOMY:  Also know as gum reduction surgery

This procedure is used when the gums extend too far onto the front surface of the teeth.  This causes the tooth to appear too short.  Be removing a small amount of gum tissue, the natural balance between the length of the teeth and the height of the gums can be restored.  Gingivectomy may also be used to remove diseased tissue.  Gingivectomy is a very effective method of improving the natural appearance of a healthy smile.

 PERIODONTAL FLAP SURGERY:  Also known as pocket reduction surgery

This procedure may become necessary when your gums still have deep pockets of infection even after completion of scaling and root planning procedures.  Having abnormal pocket depths (>3mm) make it more difficult to remove the plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums.  Flap surgery allows us to remove the deep infection and reduce the size of the pocket depth.  This allows the healing gum tissue to tighten around the tooth in addition to making it easier to keep your teeth plaque free.

CROWN LENGTHENING

When teeth have been fractured or damaged by decay or injury, placing a crown is an excellent way to restore and protect the tooth.  However, if the extent of the damage is so extensive that there is not enough tooth structure to support a crown, a minor surgical procedure called crown lengthening can be used.  The procedure increases the amount of available tooth structure so a crown can be placed to cover and protect the tooth.  Crown lengthening is a very effective way to save a tooth that may otherwise be lost.

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Dr. Horner has been my dentist for over 26 years. My husband and I keep coming back because of the quality service that we have received. The staff has been very helpful from office staff to clinical staff. If we have any concerns or questions, they have been addressed in a professional way. Dorthy P- Patient since 1989,

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