At Dynamic Dental, our dentists focus on every aspect of your mouth. We take pride in being a well-rounded practice able to handle issues ranging from dental to periodontal. Should you experience gum disease, we offer a number of treatments and diagnostic tools to return your tissues to excellent health.
Though the term may sound intimidating, a biopsy simply consists of removal of a tissue sample to screen for disease. Your dentist sends both hard tissue (tooth) and soft tissue (gums) for biopsies to determine if an oral lesion is cancerous. Your dentist should be consulted if you discover an unexplainable oral lesion (tissue abnormality). Though the lesion is likely not cancerous, early detection is crucial, and screening may help determine some other cause for the lesion.
Dentists often throw around the terms “periodontitis” and “periodontal disease.” These refer to gum disease, or infected gums. If you have gingivitis, or swollen gums due to excessive plaque, then periodontitis is a dangerous possibility. Once you have progressed to periodontitis, your own oral hygiene will not be able to combat the infection. Periodontitis can then lead to tooth loss (periodontitis is in fact the number one cause of American tooth loss), nerve damage, and even larger health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and premature births in pregnant women.
Our dentists use Arestin antibiotic microspheres to fight back. Arestin is an effective powdered antibiotic treatment your dentist places in diseased pockets between the gums and teeth. Arestin is applied post-scaling and root planing to eradicate bacteria lodged deep in these infected pockets and return health to your gums.
Scaling and root planing is a more intense version of the teeth cleanings received at regular dental exams. When plaque and tartar remain on teeth, they breed bacteria, which lead to inflammation and bleeding. This stage is known as gingivitis (inflamed gums), and can be easily handled with tooth surface scaling (teeth are scraped). If left unchecked, the gingivitis will turn to periodontitis and will require root planing. Root planing delves below the gum line to remove infected structure and smooth the root surface (making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the tooth).
When gingivitis or periodontitis is left untreated, your dentist must remove the amount of accumulated plaque on teeth before tooth and gum deterioration occur. Scaling and planing are non-surgical and do not typically require anesthesia. Highly swollen gums may introduce the need for numbing. Deep scaling and planing is typically done to one section of the mouth per dental visit to provide appropriate healing time, increase patient comfort, and make for quick appointments rather than a single lengthy, painful one.
Your gums may feel irritated after their deep cleaning; alleviate this by rinsing with warm saltwater (1 tsp salt per 8 oz water) 2-3 times a day. Brush and floss very gently until gums have healed. Swelling can be reduced with a cold compress and painkillers. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods for several days so as not to disrupt healing. If you feel very uncomfortable several days after treatment, check back in with Dynamic Dental.
Once gingivitis or periodontitis has taken its toll, teeth and gums will be profoundly affected. The unchecked plaque and bacteria that accumulate on teeth stretch gums, creating pockets between the teeth and the gum line. Once disease is removed from these periodontal pockets, they remain on the gum line and contribute to gum recession. Gum recession and stretched out gums look and feel unhealthy. Grafting restores the area to a healthy state. Both hard tissue grafts and soft tissue grafts are available so that a patient’s mouth may be restored no matter how periodontitis has altered its oral health.
Minor gum recession can be reversed with improved oral hygiene, but significant gum recession calls for greater action. Receding gums make a patient more sensitive to temperature and the teeth generally uncomfortable. If the gum line has receded to the point where it puts you at greater risk of infection, a soft tissue graft will restore tissue to the area and raise your gum line. The tooth root is softer than the tooth crown, making it susceptible to bacteria and damage. Your tooth roots must be covered to ensure oral health.
Soft tissue grafting is accomplished with tissue removed from either the roof of the mouth or around healthy teeth. Soft tissue grafting encourages further growth of healthy tissues. When soft tissue is grafted to damaged or diseased areas, new gum tissues will grow up around the teeth. This safe procedure is highly successful and is key in preventing more serious gingival issues from developing, at which point periodontal surgery would be necessary.
When periodontal pockets remain even after soft tissue grafting, your dentist will surgically remove damage from the tooth root, leaving a sagging pocket between the gum and the tooth. A periodontal pocket is both unappealing and difficult to clean, making further infection as risk. Your dentist may need to suture the gum to reduce that pocket.
Osseous grafting, or bone grafting, reshapes the jawbone that holds teeth in place. Periodontitis causes bone loss and defects in the hard tissue supporting diseased teeth. Prior to grafting, the area will be cleaned (with scaling and root planing) and reshaped to remove damaged areas. This procedure requires nothing more than a local anesthetic. Deformed bone will be taken away, and healthy bone grafted on to help the area retain its proper shape. Osseous grafting is a common treatment with a high success rate.