What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement solution. Our dentists offer the leading dental implants to treat periodontal disease and tooth loss. Candidates for dental implants have one or more missing teeth, healthy gums and are in good health. Dental implants enhance the appearance of the smile with a natural look and feel. They help patients maintain pristine oral health by preserving the structure of the surrounding teeth. They are a permanent option that will not shift or move once placed. Implants help restore proper chewing habits, improve speech and avoid bone loss.
Before the procedure, our dentists will meet with the patient to perform a thorough oral exam and discuss the patient’s medical history to assess candidacy. The dentist will then educate the patient on all procedural details and create a customized treatment plan to address all areas of concern. Dental implants are placed in two steps using the leading surgical techniques. Before the placement, the implant site will be carefully prepared. The dental implants will then be placed on the previously prepared site. The dentist will spend time evaluating the functionality, look and feel of the implants with the patient after placement to ensure a perfect fit and healthy smile. It is recommended that patients schedule regular visits to keep their implants and oral health in top shape.
What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal disease – most commonly known as gum disease – is a slow progressing disease. Damage ranges from mild gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.
What Causes Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontitis can arise for a number of reasons. Factors such as smoking tobacco, poor diet, stress, poor oral hygiene, and genetics all play a role in developing periodontal (gum) disease.
There are many signs to look out for at each stage of periodontal disease. Here are a few major warning signs to look out for:
- Bleeding Gums: The first sign of approaching periodontal disease is bleeding gums. If you show signs of bleeding gums while you brush your teeth or eat, be sure to schedule a visit with your dentist and get screened for signs of gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Severe Plaque Build-Up: If plaque builds up and is left unaddressed, over time it will harden and become calcified. The calcified plaque then form into into a calculus. This calculus is commonly known as tartar. Since tatar is rough compared to our natural tooth enamel, more plaque attaches, deteriorating your teeth and jaw line.
- Inflamed, Swollen and Detached Gums: Swollen and detach gums from teeth creating a gap or “pocket” between the tooth and gum line. This raises concern for further plaque accumulation and it becomes much more difficult to remove plaque. If this occurs, you no longer has to worry about gingivitis — periodontitis will be your new major concern.
Other Warning Signs
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pain while chewing
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Receding gums / longer appearing teeth
Worst Case Scenario
Ignoring major warning signs will lead to the development of periodontitis. Left untreated, gums become inflamed, swollen and detached from teeth. This puts you at a major risk of plaque bacteria causing further inflammation to spread to the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone resulting in tooth loss and the deterioration of these vital jaw line structures.
Periodontitis is preventable, regardless if it runs in your family’s genetic history. Simple good dental hygiene goes a long way when it comes to periodontal (gum) disease prevention. Regular flossing and brushing is vital in proper oral care.
Smoking tobacco also puts you at greater risk of developing periodontitis. Smokers tend to collect tartar and develop periodontal “pockets” and experience more bone loss quicker and easier than non-smokers once diagnosed with gum disease. It also make you more resistant to treatment.
The purpose of treatment is to simply control the infection. There are numerous treatment methods. The method and amount of times treatment is needed varies; depending on the severity of your gum disease. Any form of treatment requires the patient to maintain good oral hygiene habits at home.
Plaque can be removed through a special deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling entails scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Next, root planing removes the rough spots on the tooth root where bacterial germs gathered and contributed to periodontal disease.
A laser procedure may be used to remove plaque and tartar. This procedure may result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.
In the late stages of periodontitis, restorative surgery may be recommended. Before going through any major procedures, it is advised you get a second opinion from a periodontist, or call your local dental society.
Your dentist may also recommend certain patients change certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve the chances of success for periodontitis treatments. Speak to your dentist about all your treatment options relating to your specific situation.