What is Periodontal Gum Disease
Periodontal (around the tooth) disease is condition that affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissue of the tooth. In some advanced stages it can even reach the jawbone. This disease is often proceeded by gingivitis (bacterial infection in the gums). Bacterial infections affect the gums and are caused when toxins in plaque start to irritate and inflame the gum tissue. Bacteria then colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, where it becomes much more difficult to remove or even treat. Being that this condition is progressive, it can lead to destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If this is not treated it can lead to shifting teeth, loss teeth, or in worst cases tooth loss.
Periodontal Gum Disease is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease:There are many treatments for periodontal disease depending on condition of teeth, gums, and jawbone. Before any treatment is done a thorough examination will be performed to then evaluate form of treatment.
Scaling and Root Planing: Removing the bacteria and tartar (cause of infection) in order to preserve the health of the gum tissue. The gum pockets are then cleaned and treated with antibiotics to help alleviate the infection. Sometimes a mouthwash may be prescribed and incorporated into daily cleaning routines.
Tissue Regeneration: Regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures when bone and gum tissue have been destroyed.
Pocket elimination surgery (flap surgery): a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between both teeth and gum. To eliminate indentations in the bone jawbone surgery may be another option.
Dental Implants: In many cases periodontal disease causes tooth loss. Therefore the aesthetic and functionality of the mouth could be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone. It may be required to also have a tissue regeneration procedure before placement of dental implants to strengthen bone.
Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth lost amongst adults. This progressive condition occurs when the toxins found in plaque begin to irritator inflame the gum tissue. Periodontal disease can result to Gingivitis, a bacterial infection that can lead to destruction of the gum tissue and underlying bone.
Some of the common types of periodontal disease are aggressive, chronic, necrotizing, and periodontitis associated with systematic disease. Each giving it's own and distinct characteristics and symptoms. They all require immediate treatment to prevent bone and tissue loss.
Common Signs & Symptoms
If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, we highly advise you to schedule an appointment and visit us soon.
Unexplained Bleeding - one of the most common symptoms is bleeding when brushing, flossing and eating food. The tissue is prone to bleeding when the toxins in plaque cause bacterial infection.
Pain, Redness or Swelling - If this infection is present it can cause your gums to be swollen, red or even painful for no apparent reason. It's important to treat this infection prior to gum tissue and jaw bone being affected. It's even more critical to catch and treat this infection before it spreads to the bloodstream and other areas in the body.
Longer-looking teeth - This infection can lead to gum recession. The bacteria produced toxins can destroy the supporting tissue and bones, reason for teeth appearing to look longer.
Bad Breath/Halitosis - Breath odor is caused form retained food particles or tobacco use and originates from the back of the tongue , lungs and stomach. The foul odor is caused by the deep gum pockets that house debris and bacteria.
Loose Teeth/ Change in Bite Pattern - The loosing or shifting of teeth in an affected area is a rapidly progressive sign of periodontitis. The teeth that were firmly attached to the jaw bone become loose or may shift in position as the bone tissue gets destroyed.
Pus - Pus oozing from between the teeth is a result of the body trying to fight the bacterial infection and is a definitive sign that your periodontal infection is in progress.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Severe Periodontal disease can be treat in several different ways...
Laser Treatment - used to reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums
Tissue and bone grafting -This is when bone or gum tissue has been destroyed. The dentist may decide to graft new tissue by inserting membrane to stimulate tissue growth.
Pocket eliminator surgery - At times the dentist may decide to perform flap surgery to reduce the size of the gum pockets.
Oral Cancer Exam
The American Cancer Society has conducted research that conclude that more than 30,000 of oral cancer is diagnosed each year. Approximately 7,000 of these cases have resulted in the death of a patient. Please keep in mind that oral cancer CAN EASILY BE DIAGNOSED, TREATED & CAUGHT in the earliest stages if an annual oral cancer exam is completed.
The oral Cancer process begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. This is why an effective oral cancer exam is critical and very important. There are different types of of oral cancers such as teratoma, adenocarcinoma, and melanoma. The most common type of all oral cancers is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma. This type usually originates in the lip and mouth tissue.
Oral cancers commonly occur in the following locations:
Reasons for oral cancer examinations
It's important to consider that 75% of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors (Example: smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption).
Treatment for oral cancer is generally very effective when diagnosed. Any visible abnormalities in the gums, tongue, mouth, or even surrounding areas should be evaluated by your dental health professional.
During the oral cancer exam the following signs are thoroughly evaluated:
Lumps - lumps, soreness or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can be a sign of disease.
Red patches & sores - red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and side of the tongue, white or pink patches which fail to heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic (cancerous)changes.
Leukoplakia - This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. This can be cancerous or become cancerous if treatment is not sought out.
Oral cancer exams, diagnosis and treatment
The oral cancer examination is a painless process. During the visual portion of the examination, the dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers which can highlight changes are a wonderful tool for oral cancer checks. The laser can check below the surface for abnormal signs and lesions which would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.
If abnormalities are detected, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. A biopsy of the area will be performed id the initial treatment plan is ineffective.
Periodontal Scaling & Root Planing
The objective in scaling & root planing is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation to gingival tissue and surrounding bone. These non-surgical procedures which completely cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Scaling - the is performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool. this tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces. In many cases, the scaling tool includes an irrigation process that can also be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.
Root Planing - This procedure is a specific treatment which serves to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps bacteria from easily colonizing.