Periodontist in Stamford CT
Periodontics & Gum Treatment
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What Is Periodontal Disease & How Does It Start?
Preventing periodontal disease starts with good plaque management. Plaque is a naturally occurring substance that is comprised of oral fluids, bacteria and small particles of food. It is a colorless film that can develop quickly, as early as four hours after brushing. When plaque is not brushed away from the teeth sufficiently, over time, it can begin to harden into a concrete-like substance known as tartar. Tartar becomes hardened due to mineral content present within our saliva, and it can be distinguished from plaque by its brown/yellow color. Tartar commonly forms along the base of the tooth, where the teeth meet the gum lining.
Failure to have tartar removed will cause it to become a binding surface for new plaque to grow. While this initially may not be problematic, as more plaque and bacteria accumulate near the gum line, the bacteria can enter these tissues, causing them to become irritated and ultimately lead to inflammation. Inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth, referred to as the gingiva, is known as gingivitis. Hallmark signs of gingivitis include redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums, especially with infrequent or irregular brushing and flossing habits. Healthy gum tissue should not bleed, thus, if you are experiencing this, it is likely an indication that gingivitis may be present.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Gum Disease
Flossing is one of the most effective self-care interventions that you can implement to prevent bacteria build up near the gum lining. We recommend flossing once/day and taking your time to ensure that each surface in between the teeth is properly cared for.
With plaque development being a continuous process, occurring as quickly as four hours after eating, adopting a regular brushing regimen, at least 2x/day is recommended. Irregular brushing habits allow plaque buildup to outpace removal, increasing the likelihood of inflammatory process occurring and becoming a chronic issue.
Using Fluoride Products
Toothpaste and mouthwashes can help remove trapped food particles and leave your breath feeling fresh. However, using fluoride products can provide you with additional layer of protection. When sugary snacks are ingested, bacteria in your mouth break down sugars into acid which reduce the amount of calcium present on the outer layer of your teeth. Fluoride is a natural mineral that can help your teeth bind free floating calcium present in the saliva, effectively helping restore the enamel and protect you from tooth decay.
Smoking has numerous effects on the mouth that increase the likelihood for periodontal disease. The most direct way is through exposure of new bacteria to the mouth, which increases the rate in which plaques develops. Smoking also has physiological effects. Smoking increases carbon monoxide in the blood, which binds to oxygen and decreases the overall availability of oxygen for our tissues. In periodontal disease where inflammation is rampant, cells require oxygen to heal damaged tissue. Thus, with little oxygen available, healing becomes stagnant, allowing chronic inflammatory processes behind periodontal disease to continue.
No matter where you are in your periodontal journey, Dr. Ryan Price and The Stein Dental Group are committed to providing guidance and education every step of the way. Schedule a check up with us today.
What Services Are Available To Treat Periodontal Disease?
At the Stein Dental Group, Dr. Ryan Price can discuss a wide array of treatment interventions available for the management of periodontal disease. Depending on the severity of the case, some of the treatment options may include:
Scaling is a routine procedure that can be performed by dental hygienists during regular cleanings and exams. For mild cases of periodontal disease, scaling can be an effective treatment method. Scaling involves using a specialized dental instrument, known as a scraper, which is designed to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. Scaling can restore the surface of the teeth to their former status, while also leaving the teeth feeling smoother and cleaner afterwards.
In some more severe forms of periodontal disease, where chronic inflammation affects the gum lining, this may cause the gum tissue to recede or pull away from the teeth. When this happens, your teeth can become loose, which may require surgical correction. During this procedure, gum tissue is lifted away from the surface of your teeth to expose the vulnerable areas below the gum line, so they can be cleaned of bacterial debris. Once the bacterial pockets below the gum lining have been removed, the gum tissue is then carefully fitted back around the perimeter of your teeth to prevent bacteria from being able to return to these areas easily.
If periodontal disease has compromised partial integrity of the bone supporting your teeth, a bone graft can be performed to provide structural support to the area. During this procedure, healthy bone can be transplanted from other areas of the mouth to the area of concern. If bone is unable to be transplanted by traditional methods either due to low bone density, or more advanced disease, we can create a synthetic bone graft can made from naturally occurring compounds within the teeth, such as hydroxyapatite or calcium carbonate, and transfer synthetic grafts to be used by your cells to help rebuild the area.
If the supporting structures for your teeth have undergone significant bone loss that cannot be salvaged by a bone graft, a dental implant may be recommended. Before a dental implant is performed, an X-ray is taken to observe the bone density of the jaw. Pending that you are an appropriate candidate, the teeth overlying damaged areas of bone can be extracted. In their place, a porous implant can be fitted into the jawbone. Once the bone has fused into the porous implant, a crown matching the natural color of your teeth can be attached to a titanium cap at the top of the implant, known as an abutment. With a success rate of nearly 95%, this procedure can leave you with a nearly indistinguishable, functional alternative for any teeth that were lost.