Periodontology studies hard and soft tissues supporting our teeth and dental implants as well as conditions and diseases that affect them while aiming to help patients maintain their dental health after periodontal treatments and procedures.
What do healthy gums look like?
Healthy gums don’t bleed when you brush or floss. Healthy gums look firm and pink, not red or swollen.
What causes periodontal (gum) disease?
Each individual has a soft biofilm of bacteria that builds up on surfaces within the mouth. This mass of bacteria is also known as microbial dental plaque and is commonly found on the surfaces of the teeth, between the teeth and along the gumline. When not properly removed with regular brushing and flossing, dental plaque leads to harmful, pathogenic bacteria that may cause dental caries, gingivitis and other periodontal diseases; harmful bacteria may even cause the bone supporting your teeth to shrink. If not regularly removed, dental plaque hardens into tartar, speeding up the breakdown of gum disease.
What are different types of periodontal disease?
Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal disease. Bleeding gums are its most often symptom. If left untreated, gingivitis may cause jawbone loss, even advance to periodontitis, which will lead to loose teeth or tooth loss. Periodontitis is characterized by red, swollen, visibly shrinking gums, and bleeding after brushing/flossing. Teeth become loose, they look longer than normal and like they drift apart from their original position. Increasing space between teeth and bad breath are also indicative of periodontitis. Less gingival bleeding in smokers with periodontitis suggests that the nicotine in tobacco products acts directly on the blood vessels, masking the early signs of periodontal disease.
Other causes of periodontal disease
Although periodontal diseases are mainly caused by microbial dental plaque, several other factors, including tobacco and cigarette use, other diseases like diabetes, and genetic/hereditary factors can also contribute.
Connections between periodontal health and overall well-being
Your mouth is the mirror of your overall health. Although periodontal diseases are mainly caused by accumulation of microbial dental plaque on teeth surfaces, some systemic diseases also affect the tissues surrounding the teeth. Uncontrolled diabetes can increase the severity of periodontal diseases. On the other hand, periodontal diseases are also a threat to overall public health. Periodontal diseases and cardiovascular diseases have similar causative pathways and patients with periodontal diseases exhibit a 25% higher risk of cardiovascular problems. In patients with uncontrolled diabetes, periodontal therapy has a significant positive impact on diabetes. Research also shows that maternal periodontal diseases may increase the risk of preterm (premature) birth and pregnancy loss (miscarriage).
Is periodontal disease hereditary?
Studies suggest that periodontal diseases are influenced by genetic makeup, making some people more susceptible to gum disease. Periodontal diseases, however, can be preventable if you maintain optimal dental health, proper oral hygiene and routine professional dental care.
How to treat periodontal (gum) disease
The initial stage of treatment involves debridement (removal of gingival plaque and calculus by your dentist). In order achieve treatment success, your dentist will teach you how to remove dental plaque with proper brushing and flossing techniques. Although this treatment is an effective way to treat gingivitis; periodontal surgical procedures carried out under local anaesthesia, and in some cases, biomaterials (bone meal and membranes) are used to treat more severe infections, such as inflamed, swollen and receding gums, “pockets” (gaps) formed between the teeth and gum line due to gum recession, and bone loss. In some cases, swollen gums are treated with cutting-edge technology such as laser therapy in a painless way, there is reduced or no bleeding, and no sutures are needed. After all procedures are successfully performed, as a follow-up, patients complete clinic visits at 3, 6, 12 months. The frequency of your visits will be depending on your personal needs and the risk of oral diseases. The success of periodontal treatment is directly correlated with patient response to treatment and patients' motivation for treatment.
Objectives of periodontal treatment
The main objectives of periodontal treatment are to arrest or slow further disease progression, enable patients to carry out dental care procedures properly and effectively, and help them maintain their natural dentition. After a successful periodontal therapy, your gums will look firm and pink. They won’t bleed when you floss or brush. Tooth loosening is reduced. Halitosis is eliminated.
What is gingival (gum) recession? Can it be treated?
Gum recession is a common public health problem. Brushing too hard, using the wrong techniques when brushing, bone loss due to periodontal disease, hereditary thin gingival tissue, poor orthodontic treatment, and faulty prostheses exerting pressure on gingival tissue cause gingival recession. As a result, gingival recession leads to tooth sensitivity, often causing aesthetic impairment. However, receding gums alone do not cause tooth loss. Accordingly, not every case of gum recession requires treatment. Final decision on treatment is always made based on patients' aesthetic expectations. If gum recession is making it difficult to brush your teeth, it should be treated to reduce the risk of further recession. If you think your gingival recession is causing you aesthetic problems, do not hesitate to call us and make an appointment to undergo one of our modern treatment plans tailored to your individual health.
What is halitosis (bad breath)? Halitosis Treatment
Derived from the Latin word halitus, halitosis is used describe unpleasant or foul smell present in the mouth. Halitosis is a common dental problem and it can be found among different age groups. There are both intraoral and extraoral causes of halitosis. Among extraoral causes of halitosis, we can cite sinusitis, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, acid reflux disease and oesophagus disorders. Intraoral causes of halitosis can be periodontal diseases, bone loss, dental caries, poor dental fillings and prostheses, crowded teeth, partially impacted wisdom teeth and dental implant infections. If you have persistent bad breath, you need to undergo a thorough dental examination to detect the parts in oral cavity causing accumulation of food debris and receive a treatment accordingly. Patients with halitosis should brush their teeth regularly, use interdental cleaners, antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash as recommended by their dentists. Patients are strongly recommended to use mouthwash containing low concentrations of zinc and chlorhexidine, and toothpaste with triclosan or stabilized stannous fluoride. If bad breath can’t still be eliminated, then tongue scraping can be recommended. Patients should brush the top surface of the tongue using a tongue scraper, and finish by rinsing with cold water. In case that halitosis is caused by a systemic disorder, patient should be referred to a specific practitioner.