16/06/2017 0 Comments
You're not alone if you suffer from periodontal disease (an inflammatory disease of the tooth support structure). Half of North Americans over 30 suffer from one form or another of periodontitis, an advanced form of periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
- In its early stages it's called gingivitis, and the symptoms include swelling, redness and bleeding of the gums. Regular brushing and flossing help by removing "plaque," which is a sticky film full of harmful bacteria that builds up on teeth. If untreated, plaque may harden into "tartar" which can only be removed with a professional cleaning. The accumulation of plaque and tartar lead to gingivitis.
- Untreated gingivitis can become periodontitis—literally "inflammation around the tooth." Gums retreat, forming "pockets" that become infected with harmful bacteria. The toxins they produce, together with the body's natural defense response, start breaking down the connective tissue and bone holding the teeth in place. If left untreated, the teeth may eventually loosen and require extraction.
What Causes Periodontal Disease and What Can You Do to Fight It?
- Some factors you can do nothing about. For example, genetic susceptibility may increase your chances of contracting periodontitis—as can hormonal changes in women and girls. Diabetes may be a contributing factor, as may be AIDS and its treatments. And some medications reduce saliva production, which can make you more vulnerable to oral infection.
- And then there are things you can do. There's no better time to quit than right now—smoking greatly increases your risk of contracting periodontitis. Brush and floss regularly, eat a healthy diet and schedule semi-annual visits to your dentist for cleaning.
Can periodontal disease be treated non-surgically? Yes. Milder forms may be treated with regular professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar on the teeth. Scaling and root planing may be prescribed by your dentist to remove plaque and tartar under the gums.
What about more severe cases? More advanced periodontal disease may need surgery:
- Flap surgery. Gums are lifted and tartar removed. Damaged bone may be smoothed to eliminate hiding places for harmful bacteria, after which the gum is tightened to fit more snugly around the teeth and eliminate or reduce pockets.
- Bone and soft tissue grafting. Depending on whether bone has been lost or gums have receded, a surgical procedure using either synthetic or natural material can help restore missing bone or soft tissue through grafting surgery. This restores tooth stability.
- Guided tissue regeneration. This procedure is sometimes performed in conjunction with flap surgery. A mesh fabric is inserted between bone and gum tissue, allowing bone and connective tissue to regrow and restore tooth support.
For periodontics in Calgary, give Skyview Ranch Dental a call. Our dental clinic always welcomes new and transfer patients!