Periodontics – Gum Therapy

Periodontal Disease – What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, however, you may not know you have it. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.

In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.

What Are The Signs Of Gum Disease?

Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Scaling And Root Planing

What is it?

Scaling and root planing is the most common and conservative form of treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Scaling is the removal of calculus (commonly called tartar) and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Plaque is more likely to stick to rough surfaces. For this reason, the root surface is smoothed down in a process called root planing. Root planing removes any remaining calculus and smoothes irregular areas of the root surface. Plaque is a sticky substance, full of bacteria, that forms on teeth. When plaque hardens over time, it is called calculus.

What it’s used for?

Bacteria cause periodontal disease. Plaque and calculus provide an irregular surface that allows these bacteria to attach easily. Scaling and root planing are done to remove them. For early stages of the disease, this treatment may be all that is needed to get the condition under control. This is especially effective with gingivitis. With more advanced gum disease, scaling and root planing may be the first step before surgery

Cause of Periodontal Disease

Bacteria are the main culprits in causing gum diseases. They, in combination with mucus and other particles (food particles mostly), deposit plaque on the teeth. While regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque, it may get hardened to form tartar. Brushing cannot remove tartar. Bacteria harboured in the tartar cause the periodontal disease. Medical conditions like diabetes and habits such as smoking accelerate progression of gum disease much quicker than otherwise.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums caused by bacteria. Symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Redness of gums
  • Swelling of gums
  • Easy bleeding of gums

Gingivitis is a mild disease of gums and does cause loss of bone or tissue. Regular brushing, flossing and cleaning cure gingivitis effectively.

Periodontitis

Gingivitis not treated can develop into inflammation around the tooth, called periodontitis. The body’s immune system reacts to the spreading bacteria by producing toxins and enzymes to do away with the infection. These chemicals act on bones, gums, and connective tissue and wear them down. Eventually teeth become too loose and need to be removed.

Vulnerability to Periodontal Disease

Some people are genetically more prone to get periodontal disease. Besides, people experiencing any of the following conditions are more vulnerable to periodontal disease.

  • smoking
  • frequent hormonal changes
  • diabetes
  • stress
  • medications, especially for heart diseases and depression
  • serious illnesses like cancer and aids

Types of Periodontal Disease Treatment

Three main types of treatment are given for periodontal disease:

  • deep cleaning
  • medication
  • surgery

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning involves removal of plaque by scaling and root planning. Scaling scrapes off the tartar from around the gum line. Root planning removes rough spots on the tooth root (the den of germs) and also removes disease-causing bacteria.

Medication

Medication can be used along with deep cleaning and root planning. Well known kinds of medications and their uses are:

  • prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse: a mouth rinse for controlling bacteria
  • antibiotic gel: gel containing doxycycline for controlling bacteria and reducing the size of periodontal pockets.

Surgery

If deep cleaning and medication fail to relive the symptoms of periodontal disease, surgery may be performed. Two procedures are involved in surgical treatment: flap surgery and grafting of bones and tissue.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery works by lifting back the gums and the removing tartar deposits from inside of deep pockets. It reduces the pocket and keeps the area clean. The lifted tissue is then made to fit comfortably around the tooth.

Bone and Tissue Grafting

Grafting replaces or encourages new growth of bone or gum tissue that is destroyed by gum disease. Success of grafting varies from case to case depending on the individual’s exposure to risk factors like smoking, illnesses etc.

In addition to periodontal care we also perform periodontal plastic surgery to improve the appearance of teeth and gums.

Every procedure is done with your comfort and safety in mind. Please feel free to ask us questions before, during, or after any of these procedures.

Aesthetic Crown Lengthening

Your smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting you. If your teeth appear small when smiling, it can look unattractive. This is known as a “gummy” smile. An uneven gum line can also be distracting. In many cases, multiple-tooth crown lengthening can be done to give your teeth a longer and more attractive appearance.

Aesthetic Soft Tissue Grafting

Longer teeth or exposed tooth roots can look unsightly. They can also increase your sensitivity to heat, cold or sweets. In some cases, gum tissue can placed in these areas.

Aesthetic Ridge Augmentation

Sometimes after an extraction there will be a sunken spot or concave appearance in your gum line. This looks unsightly and can also jeopardize the appearance of a bridge that goes over the area. Grafting material can be inserted under the gum to fill out this depression. Ridge augmentation can also be used to build up an area of bone so that a dental implant can be placed.