Periodontics

PERIODONTICS

What causes gum disease?Periodontology or Periodontics (from Greek περί peri “around”; and ὀδούς odous “tooth”, genitive ὀδόντος odontos) is the specialty of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, as well as diseases and conditions that affect them. The supporting tissues are known as the periodontium, which includes the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament. A professional who practices this specialty field of dentistry is known as a periodontist.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Gingivitis

The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.” In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.

Periodontitis

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.

Risk Factors

Smoking. Need another reason to quit smoking? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.

Hormonal changes in girls/women:

These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.

Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.

Other illnesses. Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also negatively affect the health of gums.

Medications. There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medicines can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue; this can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

Bad breath that won’t go away.

Red or swollen gums.

Tender or bleeding gums.

Painful chewing.

Loose teeth.

Sensitive teeth.

Receding gums or longer appearing teeth.

The dentist or hygienist may also:

Take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss.

Refer you to a periodontist. A Periodontist is an expert  in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and may provide you with treatment options that are not offered by your dentist.

How is gum disease treated?

The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome.

Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)

The dentist, periodontist, or dental hygienist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. In some cases a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar. This procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.

After depositing local anesthesia to numb the area where the doctor will work on your gums.

The doctor will pull back a section of your gums to clean the roots of your teeth and repair damaged bone, if needed. The gum flap will be sewn back into place and covered with gauze to stop the bleeding.

Bone may be:

Smoothed and reshaped so that plaque has fewer places to grow.

Repaired (grafted) with bone from another part of the body or with man-made materials. The doctor may place a lining on the bone graft to help the bone grow back. The lining may need to be removed later.

PROGNOSIS:

If you maintain good dental care after the surgery, the flap procedure should help stop your gum disease. Your gums should become pink and healthy again.

LASER DENTISTRY

A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When laser light comes in contact with tissue, it causes a reaction. The light produced by the laser can remove or shape tissue.

Yes, lasers have been used in dentistry since 1990. Lasers can be used as a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of dental procedures and are often used in conjunction with other dental instruments.

Dental Lasers can be used to:

Reduce the discomfort of canker and cold sores.

Expose partially.

erupted wisdom teeth.

Remove muscle attachments that limit proper movement.

Manage gum tissue during impressions for crowns or other procedures.

Remove overgrown tissues caused by certain medications.

Perform biopsy procedures.

Remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease AND flap surgery.

Remove or reshape gum and bone tissues during crown lengthening procedures.

Help treat infections in root canals.

Speed up tooth whitening procedures.

There are several advantages. Dentists may not need to use a drill or administer anesthesia in some procedures, allowing the patient to enjoy a more relaxed dental experience. Laser procedures can be more precise. Also, lasers can reduce symptoms and healing times associated with traditional therapies; reduce the amount of bacteria in both diseased gum tissue and in tooth cavities; and control bleeding during surgery.

Periodontology or Periodontics (from Greek περί peri “around”; and ὀδούς odous “tooth”, genitive ὀδόντος odontos) is the specialty of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, as well as diseases and conditions that affect them. The supporting tissues are known as the periodontium, which includes the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament. A professional who practices this specialty field of dentistry is known as a periodontist.