What are Periodontal (gum) diseases?

Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.

In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.

Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

There are many forms of periodontal disease. The most common ones include the following:

Aggressive Periodontitis is a form of periodontitis that occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation.

Chronic Periodontitis is a form of periodontal disease resulting in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is recognized as the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Diseases, often with onset at a young age, associated with one of several systemic diseases, such as diabetes.

Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases is an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions including, but not limited to, HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppressant.

What are the advantages of all porcelain crowns and bridges?

The crowns used to be made of porcelain and metal. But with the new technology available today, they can be made entirely of porcelain. To have enough strength to withstand biting forces, porcelain crowns used to always be built upon a metal core. The dark metal inside the porcelain/metal crown causes a dark blue line to show at the edge of the crown. All-porcelain crowns maintain a translucency that makes them hard to tell from natural teeth. Without metal, the problem of the dark blue line at the edge of the gums is eliminated. This allows your dentist to place the edge of the crown above the gum line, which is healthier for your tooth and gums. When you want to improve your smile, all-porcelain crowns are a beautiful and natural-looking choice.

How do I know if I have periodontal (gum) disease?

You may not realize that persistent swollen, red or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, and bad breath are warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease — a serious infection that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.

Jot down your answers to the following questions to find out if you have the symptoms of periodontal disease.
Do you ever have pain in your mouth?
Do your gums ever bleed when you brush your teeth or when you eat hard food?
Have you noticed any spaces developing between your teeth?
Do your gums ever feel swollen or tender?
Have you noticed that your gums are receding (pulling back from your teeth) or your teeth appear longer than before?
Do you have persistent bad breath?
Have you noticed pus between your teeth and gums?
Have you noticed any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite?
Do you ever develop sores in your mouth?

What should I do in a dental emergency?

If a tooth is knocked out, it can still be saved. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently in running water but do not scrub as tissue may be attached. Try to place and keep the tooth in its socket or put the tooth in a cup of milk or cold water if milk is not available. Take your tooth and get to the dentist immediately. Try not to touch or hold the roots of the tooth. If a tooth is broken, clean the injured area with warm water. Use a cold compress on the area to decrease swelling and see the dentist right away. If you suspect the jaw may be broken, do not move the jaw. Cold compresses will help swelling. Emergency dental attention is absolutely necessary. When the tongue or lip is accidentally bitten and bleeding is present, direct pressure needs to be placed on the bleeding area, preferably with a clean cloth. A cold compress may be needed if there is swelling. If bleeding does not stop, a trip to your dentist or to the hospital may be needed.

What is deep cleaning?

The space between the tooth and gums (called the sulcus) increases when you have gum problems. When it becomes more than 3 mm, it is called pocket. Pockets are notorious hiding places for plaque and bacteria. It requires different tools and techniques to thoroughly remove the plaque between your teeth and gums. This is called deep cleaning.

What type of whitening treatment do you have?

We offer two types of whitening systems as not every type of whitening works for every person or their teeth.

One of the whitening products we can offer to our patients in an "on the go" whitening system. This product works well for patients with not overly senstive teeth and for those who find it hard to get "me time".

The other whitening product we offer is a custom tray(s) (upper, lower or both) with whitening gel syringes. This product works well for someone who may have a bit more sensitivity in their teeth and wants to focus the whitening on a particular area.