Did you know that the most common cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease? According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every two adults over the age of 30 in the United States has periodontal disease. However, the good news is that periodontal disease is almost entirely preventable. At the office of Wildwood Dental Care, we offer a comprehensive range of services to help patients maintain optimal periodontal health and enjoy the benefits of a smile that look, feels, and functions at its best.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a set of inflammatory diseases that affect the “periodontium”, which are the hard and soft tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. Just like tooth decay, gum disease is attributed to the harmful bacteria in dental plaque and tartar that accumulate around the teeth and under the gums.
Since the progression of periodontal disease is often painless, you may not even be aware of an ongoing disease process. For this very reason, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene and schedule visits for regular checkups, professional cleanings, and routine care.
Taking care of your smile includes being mindful of the signs and symptoms of gum disease.
Some indications that you may have periodontal disease include:
Inflamed and red gums
Bleeding when brushing or flossing
Receding gums and exposed tooth root surfaces
Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
Teeth that feel loose
New spaces developing between the teeth or a change in the bite
Change in the fit of existing partial dentures
Discharge around the teeth and gums
Sharp or dull pain when biting down or chewing food
What is Periodontitis?
When left untreated, a case of gingivitis develops into a more advanced and damaging stage of gum disease, known as periodontitis. At this point, the connective tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place begin to break down. With the progression of periodontal disease and periodontitis, more and more tissue loss ensues. Damage often includes an increase in pocketing between the teeth and bone, gum recession, and bone loss. As unresolved periodontitis goes from mild to moderate to severe, it increasingly compromises the soft and hard tissues supporting the teeth.
Periodontal treatment in this phase is designed to halt the progression of the disease and to restore tooth support as possible. Treatment may involve medications to control the bacteria and reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums, gum surgery, as well as bone and tissue grafts.
Let Us Help You Maintain Optimal Periodontal Health
At the office of Wildwood Dental Care, we offer personalized, state-of-the-art solutions to help you maintain healthy gums and an attractive, well-functioning smile. As skilled providers of care, we utilize leading-edge technology and treatment methods to address a broad range of periodontal conditions and needs.
Thanks to advances in care, periodontal treatment today not only helps to halt the progression of gum disease but also delivers effective solutions, including bone grafting and regenerative procedures to repair tissue damage, restore bone volume, improve cosmetics, or provide adequate support for the placement of dental implants.
How is gum disease treated?
The type of periodontal treatment you receive depends on several factors including the stage of periodontal disease, the extent of tissue damage, your overall oral health, existing medical conditions, and other considerations in care. After a thorough assessment of your case, we’ll discuss your options to reestablish and maintain optimal periodontal health. We welcome your questions and are always on hand to provide guidance and address your concerns.
Periodontal treatment can be categorized in the following ways:
Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment
When periodontal disease is detected early in its onset, conservative or non-surgical methods of care combined with improved hygiene routines can restore periodontal health. While periodic, professional cleanings are sufficient to maintain periodontal health in patients that do not have gum disease, once gingivitis is present, deeper cleanings and possibly other non-surgical methods of care are recommended to treat the condition.
The American Academy of Periodontology emphasizes achieving periodontal health by means of the least invasive and cost-effective treatment approaches to care. Deeper cleanings, which include Scaling and Root planing, are non-surgical procedures that are considered the first line of defense against the progression of periodontal disease.
With scaling and root planing, any plaque and tartar (hardened dental plaque) that have accumulated below the gumline are carefully removed, and then the root surfaces of the teeth are smoothed. Since periodontal disease is an inflammatory response to plaque, tartar, and bacterial toxins, by simply mechanically eliminating these agents, the progression of gum disease can be halted. In addition to removing plaque and tartar with a scaling and root planing procedure, antimicrobial medication placed under the gumline or systemic medications can be used as adjuncts to care to further reduce the bacterial population.
If non-surgical approaches to managing periodontal disease do not achieve the desired outcome, surgery may be recommended to halt its progression and repair damage as possible.
When gum disease has advanced beyond the initial stage, periodontal surgery is often recommended to effectively remove bacteria and tartar from around the teeth, reduce gingival pocket depth, restore lost tissue as possible, and halt disease progression. It’s essential to keep in mind that gum disease is a progressive condition. If appropriate measures are not taken, gum disease continues to compromise the support of the teeth and have consequences to one’s overall dental health and well-being.
As untreated gingivitis evolves into more advanced stages of gum disease, periodontal pockets deepen, the bacteria become more difficult to remove, and the gaps between the surface of the teeth and gums get larger. When pocket depth increases to the point of being beyond the reach of deep cleanings and other conservative methods of care (5mm or more), gum surgery to clean and treat the damage to gums and underlying bone is typically recommended.
The good news is that with proper surgical treatment followed by improved oral hygiene, the chances of tooth loss, further damage to the bone and soft tissues supporting the teeth, and complications from health problems that are linked to periodontal disease can be decreased.
The goals of pocket reduction surgery are to accomplish the following:
Remove sub-gingival bacteria beneath the gums and from the surfaces of the roots of the teeth
Halt damage to the underlying bone, and recontour the affected hard tissues as needed
Reduce pocket depth to facilitate easier cleaning of the teeth and gums and the maintenance of optimal periodontal health
In many cases, a periodontal procedure, which is known as flap surgery, is frequently recommended. During this procedure, the gums in the affected area are reflected away from the teeth and supporting bone. Now, the pocket and roots of the teeth can be thoroughly cleaned and supporting tissues recontoured as needed. When this step gets completed, the tissue flag gets sutured back into place.
Today, in addition to conventional surgical approaches to care, dental lasers are also used to perform select periodontal procedures. When applicable, laser technology can help treat periodontitis, reduce pocket depth, address peri-implantitis, and remove or recontour gingival tissues for cosmetic purposes.
Gum Disease FAQs
Dental implants are small, biocompatible surgical posts that behave in much the same way as the roots of natural teeth. Once placed and integrated with the surrounding bone, dental implants provide unparalleled support for single crowns, bridges, and dentures. As the most advanced method for the replacement of missing teeth, they offer satisfying, long-lasting, and functional solutions for rebuilding a complete smile.
Whether you’re missing one tooth, multiple ones, or missing all your teeth, you can rebuild a complete and beautiful smile with dental implants! According to statistics, roughly 3 million people have already received dental implants, with that number increasing at a staggering rate of 500,000 per year! The soaring popularity of dental implants is attributed, in large part, to the numerous benefits they offer as compared with other methods of care.
While conventional fixed bridges and dentures provide effective and satisfying solutions for the replacement of missing teeth, dental implants offer several advantages over traditional methods of care:
Dental implants come the closest to replicating the look, feel, and function of natural teeth.
With precise placement, good oral hygiene, and routine care, dental implants can last for many years.
Dental implants provide continued stimulation to the underlying bone to prevent the bone loss that occurs when teeth are missing while preserving natural facial contours.
Since implants behave like natural teeth, there is no chance that they will slip or dislodge like removable dentures when speaking or eating.
With dental implants, it is possible to speak with ease as well as eat and taste all types of food with virtually no restrictions.
Dental implants do not decay and will not develop cavities.
Unlike a fixed bridge, dental implants do not require any preparation or crowning of teeth adjacent to the edentulous area.
If you are wondering if you’re a candidate for dental implants, it’s easy enough to find out. At the office of Wildwood Dental Care, we’re not only happy to take a look at your smile, but we’ll also answer all your questions and explain your best options in care. As the most versatile solution for reestablishing a complete smile, dental implants offer a wide range of applications and can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all of the upper and lower teeth.
Rest assured that your care is in skilled and capable hands. You can count on our office for the best solutions for your smile. We treat every smile as unique and develop personalized treatment plans based upon your medical and dental histories, as well as your current oral health, cosmetic expectations of care, lifestyle, and budget.
It’s essential to plan and meticulously execute every step in care, from initial treatment planning and the precise placement of dental implants all the way to the design, fabrication, and insertion of the final crowns, bridges, or dentures.
Surgery to place the dental implants is typically considered a minor surgical procedure and performed on an outpatient basis. However, the exact extent of the procedure depends upon the type and number of dental implants and whether or not any additional procedures are required to prepare the supporting bone.
As your trusted partner in care, you can count on our office to keep you well informed every step of the way. Patient care and comfort are our top priorities. We do everything we can to put you at ease and make every visit to our office both comfortable and stress-free. Prior to your dental implant procedure, we’ll discuss your dental anesthesia, options in dental sedation, and provide detailed pre-op and post-op care instructions.
Once your dental implant is placed, it can take a few months for it to fully integrate with the surrounding bone. While in some cases, a same-day temporary crown or bridge can be placed to provide an immediate and cosmetically pleasing look, permanent prostheses are typically placed when healing and osseointegration (fusion) with the surrounding bone are completed.
According to clinical studies, dental implants have a demonstrated long-term success rate of well over 95%. However, the long-term stability and success of a dental implant depend upon the presence of sufficient bone at the time of placement. In cases of periodontal disease or following the extraction of a tooth, bone volume is often lost. By placing a bone graft in the extraction site, or prior to the placement of a dental implant, we can establish sufficient bone support for a sturdy and stable dental implant.
While rebuilding a complete smile with dental implants is a worthwhile investment, our office is sensitive to the costs involved in dental care. We customize care and will discuss all treatment options that address your oral healthcare needs, cosmetic goals, and budget. Our office is dedicated to making care more accessible and will help patients navigate their dental insurance coverage and optimize their benefits. We can also discuss payment plans as well as financing treatment to make things easier for you. Feel free to contact our team with all your questions regarding methods of payment and financing options.