Healthy teeth begin with healthy gums. A healthy smile is aesthetically pleasing as well as vital to your overall well being. If your gums have become red and swollen, you may have developed periodontal disease, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Maintaining proper oral hygiene and periodontal care are recommended for aiding in the prevention of gum disease and complete care of your mouth.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease results when bacterial infections form in the gums and tooth-supporting bones. The bacteria from plaque cause the gums to inflame and bleed. If left untreated, gums can separate from the teeth to form infected pockets that collect bacteria and continue to destroy gum tissue and bone. This eventually leads to tooth loss. Periodontal disease can be limited to one tooth or can affect your entire mouth. Dr. Salamati offers surgical treatment options for those with more advanced cases of gum disease or to correct gum issues that often lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease Causes
- Bacterial plaque
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Pregnancy and hormonal changes
- Grinding your teeth
- Poor nutrition
Types of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and can be reversed through professional treatment and proper oral maintenance. It can cause the gums to turn red, swollen and to bleed easily. Patients who struggle with gingivitis experience little or no discomfort.
Aggressive periodontitis is characterized by rapid attachment loss and bone destruction, that can even occur in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. This form of periodontitis is more common in patients with a family history of the condition.
Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation between the supporting tissues and the teeth and is characterized by pocket formation. It is the most frequently occurring type of periodontitis. While this disease is most common in adults, it can develop at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually happens slowly over time, and then rapid progression begins to occur.
Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Diseases
Periodontitis begins to develop at a young age is associated with many systemic diseases, such as diabetes.
Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases
Necrotizing periodontal diseases is an infection related to necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. These lesions are usually common in individuals who struggle with systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition, and immunosuppression.
Prevention of Periodontal Disease
Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease. This includes consistent brushing and flossing as well as regular dental visits and cleanings. Other ways to prevent periodontal disease include cutting down on smoking (and other tobacco use) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a balanced diet and a good immune system can also prevent you from developing periodontal and other systemic diseases linked to the condition, such as diabetes. Make sure to also avoid clenching or grinding your teeth. Dr. Salamati can discuss this in more detail during your consultation.
Surgical Treatment Options
Surgical Treatment Options
Pocket reduction surgery removes tartar and disease-causing bacteria from the tooth roots while reducing the pockets that cause periodontal disease. During this procedure, the roots are cleaned, and the bone around the tooth is reshaped. This technique is often the treatment of choice for more advanced periodontal diseases.
Guided bone regeneration (also known as guided tissue regeneration) can now be used to treat gum disease. During this procedure, the pockets of degenerated bone are cleaned, a bone graft is placed, and a membrane is inserted to separate the soft tissue and the pocket. This allows the bone to “regenerate” and grow, and stabilizes the teeth, or in cases of tooth loss prepares the jaw for implants.
In cases where there is an excessive amount of gum, the extra tissue not only results in an undesirable “gummy smile” but can also diminish the patient’s ability to brush and floss properly. This can lead to gum disease. For this procedure, small incisions are made around the gum tissue to reshape the tissue and bone. This will result in a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
Crown lengthening can help save teeth that are decayed, broken, or below the gumline or have insufficient tooth structure for a crown. This procedure adjusts the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored. Many teeth can be saved by this procedure and an implant can be avoided.
Receding gums is one of the symptoms of periodontal disease. Your gums are the first defense against bacteria, and when they recede, you lose that protection. Also, gum recession can be unsightly and lead to root sensitivity. Tissue grafting is used to reconstruct receding gums. A thin piece of tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and positioned around the tooth.
Surgical treatments are reserved for cases in which non-surgical services are no longer viable. Non-surgical therapy may be recommended if your gum disease is limited to gingivitis and mild to moderate forms of periodontitis. Typically, treatment will begin with a thorough cleaning that includes scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gum line. Tooth roots can then be smoothed to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. During this time, antibiotics may be prescribed to aid in the healing process. Dr. Salamati offers the following non-surgical treatments>
Frequently Asked Questions
Patients can reduce their chances of developing gum disease by staying prepared and using preventative measures. Patients should form healthy habits, such as brushing and flossing, at least twice a day. Patients can also use mouthwash and toothpaste specially formulated to fight plaque.
Recent scientific studies show that there is a connection between oral and cardiovascular health. When gum bacteria enter the bloodstream through small abrasions or sores in the mouth, it can go anywhere within the body, including the heart. Poor oral health may not directly cause health issues, but it can increase your vulnerability.
Patients should see a dentist bi-annually to monitor and maintain their oral health. Dental appointments will include a general exam and deep cleaning that will eliminate bacteria and plaque missed during regular brushing and flossing.
Gum recession occurs when the roots of your teeth become exposed as the gums recede or pull away from the teeth. If this occurs, your gums can be treated with a gum graft.
Common symptoms include bleeding gums during brushing or flossing, red, swollen, or tender gums, receding gum lines, persistent bad breath, and loose or separating teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, see a dental professional right away.
If untreated, bacteria and the resulting inflammation from the mouth can spread through the body and lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease.
Periodontal bacteria can lead to bone loss in the jaw. Since this bone is what keeps your teeth in place, bone loss can lead to tooth loss.
Healthy gums are the foundation of a beautiful smile and maintaining your overall health. If you have questions or concerns about gum disease and your treatment options, contact us today to schedule a consultation.