Patients come to our office to save their teeth from periodontal disease. While the goal of every periodontist is hopefully to save your teeth, it is important that you know there are different philosophies on treating periodontal disease Older treatment therapies would remove bone and gum to stop periodontal disease, usually resulting in painful root exposure and loose teeth. While some practitioners still employ these strategies to just halt periodontal disease, our commitment to you is to use therapies aimed at regenerating the tissues you have lost.
Regeneration is the process by which we are able to grow back the tissues lost through periodontal disease, like lost-bone, gum, and periodontal ligament, thereby restoring the beauty and function of your teeth and gums. What is probably of the greatest interest to you is that these regenerative procedures many times employ nonsurgical methods to accomplish their goals. Deep cleanings (scaling and root planing) or LASER periodontal therapy comprises the majority of your treatment in our office. The way you benefit from this is that you get more conservative, more comfortable, more successful and less expensive treatment to save your smile. Regenerative measures can be taken in a number of ways, and which method is employed depends on the severity and presentation of your disease. Our goals when you finish treatment is to get you back to eating the foods you always enjoyed in the past, giving you back a smile that exhibits great confidence and having a mouth that is pain and disease free.
What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. A periodontist typically has had two to three years of additional training in diagnosing and treating gum disease and its associated problems.
Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, like laser periodontal therapy. Also, periodontists can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to improve your smile. Referral is necessary to a periodontist when periodontal disease is in a moderate or advanced stage, or implants are a consideration in addition to other procedures. In the past decade, Stoner Periodontic Specialists has been the first and best choice in Columbus and the surrounding areas for periodontal laser therapy, dental implants, and other periodontal therapy needs.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s normal way of healing itself after injury or infection. It is a natural process that lets your defense cells enter the site of injury or infection and allow for healing to occur. However, if the inflammation process goes on for a period of time it causes tissue damage. This is the case in long-term, chronic diseases such as arthritis. Oral inflammation can also lead to periodontal disease and eventually, tooth loss.
Why is oral inflammation important to my general health?
The mouth may contribute to your body’s overall amount of inflammation. Your mouth is home to many different types of bacteria. Many of these types of bacteria are harmless but some cause cavities while other cause inflammation of the gums or gingivitis. When the bacteria get out of control it results in red, swollen, puffy and tender gums, which may point to periodontal disease. A common sign of gingivitis is gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss.
Your mouth is directly related to the body by the bloodstream. This means that when you have inflammation in the mouth it affects your overall health or parts of the body. Studies have shown that oral inflammation may be linked to problems in other parts of the body. Some of these problems are heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and periodontal disease.
Dental Professionals associate periodontal disease to fall under 3 stages:
This is the first stage of periodontal disease. Some indications that you may have gingivitis may involve tender and some bleeding of your gums when you brush or floss. Gingivitis is reversible when corrective measures are undertaken. Some of these measures involve routine professional cleanings and proper brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Usually when the above measures are undertaken no bleeding or tenderness of the tissues results therefore the gingivitis has been reversed back to a degree of health. Untreated gingivitis can advance to the second stage of periodontal disease, periodontitis.
This is considered the second stage of periodontal disease. At this stage plaque and tarter forms under the gums which are not accessible with brushing and flossing alone, professional therapeutic methods need to be incorporated. Plaque and tarter causes and infection, which may damage the bone and the attachment of the gums to the teeth. You may notice that your gums start to pull away and more tenderness and bleeding may result. Proper dental care may involve tissue and root therapy or deep cleanings with the incorporation of other therapies depending on the involvement of the disease. Professional intervention is very important to prevent further damage of this disease.
The first step involves a special deep cleaning or tissue and root therapy. This procedure helps gum tissue regeneration and periodontal disease pockets to shrink. A local anesthetic is often used to make you more comfortable. Usually, treatment occurs in one appointment. Sometimes antibiotics may be inserted under the gums to aid in healing of the gingival tissues. Also, a medication via pill may be recommended to control infection or to aid in healing. A month after therapy, an examination will determine if further periodontal disease treatment is required.
In the most drastic stage of periodontal disease, the bone and the attachment of the gums to the teeth have been destroyed. This may cause your teeth to shift or loosen and can affect how your teeth come together. You may notice a bad taste or smell in your mouth. Proper dental care must be initiated to save the teeth or they may need to be removed. Professional intervention may involve pocket reduction therapy and bone grafting along with the incorporation of other therapies.
Pocket reduction therapy is required for this form of periodontal disease when the gingival tissues have not resolved after initial treatment or tissue and root therapy. This is usually necessary when gingival tissues have not shrunk enough or when the supporting bone around the teeth has been lost. Since the gingival tissue have not shrunk they provide a greater place for bacteria to live and attack the bone and tissue causing further damage to occur.
Pocket reduction is a periodontal disease therapy that turns or pulls back the gingival tissue, removes tartar and smoothes the roots so that the gingival tissue can reattach. Diseased tissue is also removed to allow the gingival tissue to heal. The gingival tissue is sutured back into place into a new position to make the gingival tissue snug around the tooth and aid in healing. Sometimes bone grafts may be necessary to correct for bony defects that occur around teeth and where roots divide to prevent loss of teeth.
Prevention and Maintenance
Once your periodontal disease treatment is completed, it is very important you maintain regular professional cleanings as this is the most important aspect for long term resolution of periodontal disease. Research states that a 3 month recall is critical and recommended. This is necessary because it takes 3 months for the bacteria to repopulate and start to cause destruction of gingival tissue attachment and bone loss again. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from reoccurring. A few minutes a day is enough to care for your teeth and gums. You do not have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush and clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, stay active and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Stoner Periodontic Specialists is here for you with professional periodontal therapists that maintain your success after treatment in coordination with your general dentists.
How do I know if I have periodontal disease?
Your dental professional will determine if you have periodontal disease at every professional cleaning, which should occur every 6 months. Since early gum disease or gingivitis is reversible it is important you see your dental professional if you see any of the following:
- gums that bleed or are red, puffy, swollen or sore
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- changes in the way your teeth fit together
- pus or a creamy discharge that appears around the teeth or gums
- constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
What should I do if I have periodontal disease?
- See your dentist or contact Stoner Periodontic Specialists immediately.
- Get regular professional cleanings and checkups. Your dental professional will remove the plaque and tartar that forms under the gums that has been shown to cause periodontal disease.
- Do not smoke cigarettes or use other forms of tobacco.
- Brush and floss daily to keep the gum tissue healthy.
Studies have indicated:
- Links have been made between your mouth and overall health.
- People with diabetes or who smoke are significantly more likely to develop periodontal disease and result in tooth loss.
- The plaque in your mouth has been found to clog arteries around your heart leading to heart disease and stroke.
- Pre term low birth weight babies are more likely to occur in mothers with periodontal disease.
- The bacteria that lead to gingivitis are the same bacteria that play an important role in heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Good oral hygiene to prevent periodontal disease – Daily Brushing and Flossing
For the outer tooth surfaces, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line
Use gentle, short strokes, moving the brush back and forth against the teeth and gums.
Use this same motion to clean the chewing and inner tooth surfaces.
To clean the inner front tooth surfaces, hold the brush upright and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of the brush.
Don’t forget to brush along the gum line, and make sure you reach the teeth right at the back
Also give your tongue a brushing – it’ll help keep your breath fresh!
Take about 18 inches (50cm) of floss and loosely wrap most of it around each middle finger (wrapping more around one finger than the other) leaving 2 inches (5cm) of floss in between.
With your thumbs and index fingers holding the floss taut, gently slide it down between your teeth, while being careful not to snap it down on your gums.
Curve the floss around each tooth in a “C” shape and gently move it up and down the sides of each tooth, including under the gum line Unroll a new section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
At first, flossing might feel awkward. But stick with it! With just a little patience and practice, it will begin to feel as natural as brushing your teeth.
Treatment options for periodontal disease include both laser periodontal therapy and gum tissue regeneration techniques. Dr. Stoner and Dr. Murphy will evaluate patients on an individual basis to develop a customized treatment plan.