To provide you with a better understanding of periodontics, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to periodontics are discussed.
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The “peridontium” is a fancy word for the gums and bone around the teeth. Therapy to help maintain these tissues is referred to as periodontal treatment.
What is gum disease?
More correctly called periodontal disease, this can start as inflamed and bleeding gums (gingivitis), and progress all the way to infection and extensive bone loss around the teeth (advanced periodontitis). Allowed to progress unchecked, periodontal disease will result in losing teeth, even though they may have never had a cavity.
Periodontal disease is most often caused by buildup of calculus on the teeth. The bacteria and toxins in the calculus, in turn, cause an inflammatory response in the bone and tissue. As these tissues are damaged/lost over time, it becomes harder to keep the area clean, and a vicious circle develops. Some people are naturally more prone to periodontal disease. General health, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc. are also factors.
What can we do to treat gum disease?
Priority one is a thorough cleaning to get rid of all the calculus and bacterial toxins. We sometimes have to freeze areas where deeper cleaning is required. Our hygienists have training and are licensed to administer local anaesthesia. In severe cases, the dentist may have to open the gums up surgically to get the teeth thoroughly cleaned in an attempt to save them.
Once the areas are cleaned, we will make sure that you are able to clean things thoroughly at home. We may also disinfect the area with a laser or use certain antibiotic therapies and rinses to keep things healthy. Sometimes we will reshape the teeth or gums to allow easier cleaning.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Most cases are preventable with good homecare, especially flossing, along with regular professional cleanings and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
What is a gingival graft?
Another common periodontal treatment is a graft of soft and/or hard tissue to rebuild missing areas of the peridontium. For example, if you have recession and the roots of your teeth are showing, sometimes we will do a minor surgery to put the gums back where they belong. This can reduce tooth sensitivity and extend the life of the teeth.
What is an periodontist?
A dental specialist with advanced training in periodontal treatment is called a periodontist. Sometimes we will refer you to an periodontist if you have an unusually challenging case.