Periodontal Disease Treatment
"Perio" means around, and "dontal" refers to teeth. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease — gingivitis — the infection affects the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved.
For many years, scientists have been trying to figure out what causes periodontal disease. It is now well accepted that various types of bacteria in dental plaque are the major villains. Researchers also are learning more about how an infection in your gums can affect your overall health.
In recent years, gum disease has been linked to a number of other health problems. This is a new and exciting area of research, but it remains controversial. Studies have produced varying answers about the extent of the connection between gum disease and other medical problems, and more research is needed.
Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:
- Atherosclerosis and heart disease — Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease, although the extent of this connection is unclear. Gum disease also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
- Stroke — Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
- Diabetes — People with diabetes and periodontal disease may be more likely to have trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetics with healthy gums.
- Respiratory disease— Gum disease may cause lung infections and worsen existing lung conditions when bacteria from the mouth reach the lungs.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, the sticky substance that forms on your teeth a couple of hours after you have brushed. Interestingly, it is your body's response to the bacterial infection that causes most of the problems. In an effort to eliminate the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that cause inflammation and destruction of the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, signs of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease), and loosening of the teeth, a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).
Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly (about once every six months, or more often if you have gum disease) can prevent periodontal disease. Daily brushing and flossing, when done correctly, help remove most of the plaque from your teeth. Professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist will keep plaque under control in places that are harder for a toothbrush or floss to reach.
Periodontal Regenerative Surgery
What is Periodontal Regenerative Surgery?
The surgery pulls back gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria. Membranes (filters), bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body's natural ability to regenerate bone.
Who is Periodontal Regenerative Surgery for?
People with gum disease. Gum disease has traditionally been treated by eliminating the gum pockets by trimming away the infected gum tissue and by re-contouring the uneven bone tissue. Although this is still an effective way of treating gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are used routinely today. One of these advancements is guided bone regeneration, also referred to as guided tissue regeneration. This procedure is used to stabilize endangered teeth or to prepare the jaw for dental implants.
What Are The Details About The Procedure?
As periodontal disease progresses, pockets of degenerated bone develop in the jaw. These pockets can promote the growth of bacteria and the spread of infection. To address these pockets our periodontists may recommend tissue regeneration. During this surgical procedure, the pockets are cleaned thoroughly, and a membrane is installed between the soft tissue and the pocket
in the bone. Some of these membranes are bio-absorbable and some require removal. The membrane covers the pocket so that fast-growing soft tissue is blocked, and slower-growing bone can begin to grow, or regenerate itself.
The effectiveness of the procedure generally depends on the patients' willingness to follow a strict postoperative diet and careful oral care. Our periodontists will help you determine if bone regeneration surgery is right for you.