Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

Throughout the day, even the healthiest of dental patients develop a very mild gum inflammation from meals and snacks we consume. This is called gingivitis. Normal oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing and an antibacterial mouth rinse keep these issues at bay as the days and weeks fly by.

Gingivitis is gum inflammation from the bacteria that is in our mouth, and gum disease, or periodontitis, is bone loss from that same inflammation causing bacteria. In other words, the inflammation becomes so bad over a period of time, that you start harboring bacteria, not normally there, that destroys the bone structure around the teeth.

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Gum Disease

Gum disease often goes unnoticed as the signs and symptoms are not always as apparent to you as they would be to a dental professional. It's important to maintain regular appointments so both a combination of a thorough visual inspection, as well as the use of diagnostic X-rays can aid the dentist in ensuring you do not have any signs of this prevalent disease.

Signs to look for include redness and swelling of gums, bad breath, sensitivity, and loose teeth. Gum disease has been proven to be linked to more serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Keep in mind that good oral health leads to good overall health.

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Scaling & Root Planing

If gum disease is present, it is recommended that you undergo a relatively non-invasive procedure called scaling and root planing, or deep cleaning. Your hygienist may also recommend placement of a small chip in selected areas to help address the disease. After, it will be recommended that you follow-up with the periodontist or gum specialist. The periodontist will assist you in determining why you developed signs of periodontitis in the first place, and what can be done to prevent the problem from recurring or worsening.

Ultrasonic Cleanings

Ultrasonic cleanings have brought a new dimension to scaling teeth. An ultrasonic scaler is a hand-held wand that uses electromagnetic force to vibrate rapidly. The vibrations effectively blast away plaque, calculus, and stains from the tooth surfaces, while a small stream of water emerges near the tip of the scaler. Ultrasonic cleanings take one-third less time compared to hand scaling, which means less time in the chair.

Dental Implants

Implant placement is truly one of the most modern treatments oral medicine has to offer. While no longer "new" it is definitely the best way to replace teeth in most situations. Before implants, the only method of a fixed tooth replacement was a bridge. While bridges are wonderful, and are still used in many situations today, implants solve a major problem that bridgework caused; you don't have to destroy healthy tooth structure of the adjacent teeth. The more work that is done to a tooth; the more you cut into it, or remove enamel, the more problems you will have with it in the future. Implant placement focuses exclusively on the missing tooth or teeth and leaves the other teeth alone.

Replacing a tooth or teeth using implant therapy can range dramatically in complexity, and duration of healing. We encourage you to come in for a visit to discuss further with any of our dental professionals.

Bone Grafting

Did you know that bone remodels itself all the time? Your body is constantly depositing new bone cells and removing old ones. In the case of the bone that supports your teeth, this process can be helpful or harmful. When teeth are lost, the bone that used to surround them begins to shrink. If enough bone is lost, it can change the appearance of your face and also complicate treatment to replace missing teeth. Fortunately, with socket preservation, or "bone grafting," the bone that has been lost can be built up again. This is a minor surgical procedure done to the socket from which a tooth was just removed, or to an area that has been without a tooth for a long time. Grafting material is added to an area where your body, under normal circumstances, would not produce bone. But because of the grafting material's ability to act as a natural scaffold, your body is allowed to grow its own bone where it otherwise would not have.