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Periodontal Disease Overview

 
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection which causes loss of the bone foundation around teeth. Initially, bacteria builds up as dental plaque along the gum line of teeth, causing gum inflammation and permitting certain bacteria to penetrate gum tissues and enter the bloodstream affecting a person’s entire health status as an infection. Resulting immune responses attempt to locally wall off invading bacteria, but also cause loss of mineral content of bone (visible on x-rays). Above all, periodontal infections are treatable.

Usually, treatment involves “initial therapy” which involves removal of bacterial plaque and tarter deposits on teeth. If deposits and bone loss extend only a few millimeters below the gum line, local anesthesia (“Novocain”) can be used to keep a patient comfortable during this deeper cleaning session(s). Home care instructions are reviewed and emphasized as bacteria re-grow overnight; plaque removal on a daily basis by the patient is essential.

In the event that sufficient inflammation and pocket reduction is achieved through initial therapy, periodontal maintenance therapy at a customized, appropriate interval (usually every 3-4 months) is arranged.

In the event that deep under the gum plaque/tarter deposits could not be accessed, periodontal “flap” surgery is needed to permit access to remove tarter deposits and to eliminate infected gum tissue around the necks of teeth, and to reposition the gum line at the level of bone (eliminating space or “pocket” between height of gum and height of bone). Periodontal cleaning interval is again customized to preserve achieved status of health.


What are the benefits of this procedure?

Eliminating existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue helps to reduce pocket depth and repair damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease. With a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care, youll increase the chances of keeping your natural teeth — and decrease the chances of serious health problems (see main brochure) associated with periodontal disease.


During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence.

Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so its important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth — and decrease your chances of serious health problems (see main brochure) associated with periodontal disease.

The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth. However, many factors (see main brochure) can cause periodontal disease or influence its progression.

Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed and pockets develop. Eventually, too much bone is lost, and the teeth need to be extracted.

Your periodontist has recommended a regenerative procedure because the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed. These procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue.

During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the 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 and tissue.
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth. However, many factors (see main brochure) can cause periodontal disease or influence its progression.

 

The following medical conditions are conclusively interrelated with periodontal disease and associated
loss of bone support around teeth:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Medications used to suppress the immune system.
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Diabetes (control very important)
  • HIV+/AIDS status
  • Hormonal and/or stress influences
  • Medications that cuase dry mouth (xerostoma) diminish saliva's natural anti-bacterial activity, which may also increase periodontal disease progression. Including medications that are used to treat:
    • High Cholesterol
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Depression and Anxiety