Periodontics – The Study And Treatment Of Gum Diseases
Dentists in Shoreline, Washington generally refer to anything that has to do with the gums by using the word “periodontic” and so the care of gums by a dentist is referred to by the technical term periodontics. Periodontics is a type of dentistry that deals with two specific things – the outward appearance of your gums plus the health and well-being of those gums. Periodontitis – or gum disease – is a problem that affects as much as half of the population.
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that studies diseases associated with gums and their treatment. Many people may not be aware that they have some form of gum disease. It is important to deal with the problem sooner rather than later in order to avoid the more pernicious side effects of periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene is necessary, but it is usually not enough to repair any damage that has already been done. For that, there are a number of non-surgical and surgical procedures designed to remedy the problem and make teeth and their supportive structures healthier.
By attending to the gums and the way they look, feel, and remain nicely maintained you also, of course, add to the beauty of your overall smile and physical health. When your teeth and gums are diseased, for example, the condition can lead to distress in other parts of the body – including such serious things as heart disease. But when your dental and periodontal health is at its best, it actually contributes in a positive, substantial way to help your body ward off sickness and disease and keep you not only looking great but feeling fantastic, too.
The clinical need for periodontic care – particularly cosmetic work – will usually occur because the tissue of the gums does not grow properly or gets infected and diseased. The gums might become infected and swollen, for example, so that they need to be drained, opened to remove the infection, or otherwise treated by the dentist. Or you might have a really “gummy” smile – because of an unusually large amount of pink gum around the teeth – and the dentist can do a cosmetic trimming of the tissue to improve the appearance of your smile. Often times the gum tissue recedes away from the bottom part of the tooth, and that can also be a serious problem.
The gums actually help to protect and nourish the teeth, and if they recede too deeply then the tooth is at risk and may become sensitive or start to hurt. In the old days, dentists would have to remedy this problem by grafting tissue – which they cut away from the roof of the mouth – into place. This was obviously a very painful process and one that nobody would want to endure – and it was extremely expensive in most cases. But lucky for you, dental procedures have become much more modernized, and now the dentist can use donor tissue to help replace the missing gum tissue around your teeth. Luckily, Dr. Eric J. Lee is trained in the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique. It is much less invasive than traditional periodontal surgery and has a much faster recovery time.
Gingivitis is also the first stage of periodontal disease. It is characterized by swollen gums that are often already infected, and that bleed when you brush. If the problem is treated at this earlier stage, most people could save themselves a lot of pain and expense.
Periodontitis is the later stage of the disease, characterized by plaque that has spread below the gum line. Bacteria multiply where protected from flossing and brushing, leading to further degradation. Eventually – if left untreated – periodontitis can affect the structures that support the teeth, ultimately requiring that infected teeth be extracted. But the periodontal disease is far more dangerous than lost teeth. Infections in the mouth can and do spread to other parts of the body linking this issue to such very serious health issues as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Once periodontal disease is diagnosed, treatment is imperative. Most dentists will try one of several non-surgical, deep cleaning and other procedures designed to clean below the gum line. They include:
* Scaling: tartar or hardened plaque is removed from beneath the gum line, preventing the continued growth of bacteria in hard-to-reach places
* Planing: a process of smoothing the root of an infected tooth to remove bacterial toxins that lead to further plaque buildup
* Periodontal trays: flexible, custom-fit teeth trays that are worn at home and contain anti-bacterial medication to reduce infection. Deep cleaning, although effective in most cases, may be painful, especially when root work is required. Sedation dentistry is an option for those unwilling to deal with the pain and discomfort of the more stringent procedures, and usually allow the entire procedure to be completed in just one visit. In extreme or very advanced cases when non-surgical methods don’t work, surgery becomes the only option for fighting the disease.
In other words, there are various reasons why periodontal dental procedures might be advantageous, and if you visit your dentist he or she can help to explain them to you and recommend any that you might want or need. Regular visits to the dentist are the most prudent and smart way to go, of course, because periodontal problems can be detected way ahead of time if you see the dentist at least twice a year. That gives the dentist a chance to treat any potential trouble before the need arises for periodontics.
Besides routine oral hygiene, regular dental visits go a long way in preventing periodontal disease. For those experiencing an advanced stage of the disease, more invasive non-surgical methods may be unavoidable. So, if you notice that your gums always bleed when you brush your teeth, don’t ignore this warning. Call the dentist right away, just as you would if your scalp started bleeding every time you wash your hair. It might not just save your teeth, preventative measures now could save your life.