Some 80% of all teeth are removed as a result of periodontal disease.
What is periodontal disease (periodontitis)?
Periodontal disease is a condition causing deterioration of the bone and tissues holding the teeth in place in the jaw. Once those structures are affected the tissues cannot fully be restored. However, with proper treatment disease can be stopped.
It is rare for periodontal disease to be localised in a single tooth, usually all or most of the teeth are affected.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is mostly painless. And because it does not involve pain, patients often do not realise how serious the problem is. Initially it will manifest itself as bleeding gums. Later the bone around the tooth will recede and the teeth can become sensitive to hot or cold. As the bone recedes more and more and breaks down, the teeth begin to move and wobble. Ultimately the disease leads to loss of teeth.
Periodontal disease – what is the treatment?
Proper, regular oral hygiene is the most important ‘medicine’ for preventing periodontal disease from developing.
Additionally, all factors leading to gum inflammation need to be eliminated, meaning professional cleaning once a year on average and removal of bad fillings and dental prostheses. If disease has taken hold, treatments performed are curettage of the pockets and periodontal surgery.
Scaling and polishing
Regular cleaning of tartar is vital for a healthy mouth and teeth.
Where does tartar come from?
Even if your oral hygiene is flawless, there are bacteria in the mouth which, together with proteins and sugars from food, form deposits on the teeth – dental plaque. Plaque can be removed through brushing. However, when plaque remains on the teeth for an extended period of time, minerals in the saliva build up in it, mineralise it, and it turns into dental calculus, or tartar, which cannot be removed from the teeth.
Should tartar be removed, and why?
Plaque and tartar contain bacteria which cause gum inflammation – gingivitis – which causes the gums to bleed. This can progress into disease of the bone and of the tissues holding the teeth in place in the jaw – periodontal disease.
By visiting your dentist regularly, once a year on average, the deposits can be removed early enough to prevent possible complications.
Tartar is cleaned with an ultrasound device which uses vibration to quickly and painlessly remove build-up from teeth.
After the tartar has been removed the teeth are polished using the AirFlow system, a kind of jet-wash for your teeth. The surfaces of the teeth are thoroughly cleaned by mechanical means, using a fine powder which blasts away deposits and stains left by food, drinks and other substances such as coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco smoke etc. With the surface polished, plaque and tartar are less able to find a foothold and the build-up of micro-organisms is prevented. This in turn protects the teeth from decay and gum disorders.
Increasing clinical crown height (gingivectomy)
Gingivectomy is a surgical procedure to remove part of the gum around the tooth. The procedure can be indicated for aesthetic reasons.
A nice smile depends not only on having nice teeth but also, importantly, on the proportions between the gingivae (the gums) and the teeth. Where this proportion is unbalanced and the gums predominate, the teeth appear small and this is referred to as a gummy smile. In such cases a gingivectomy is the ideal way to correct this cosmetic issue. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic and is painless.
A procedure to increase clinical crown height is also carried out when there is a lack of dental material for attachment of fixed prostheses (crowns or bridges) due to deterioration of the dental tissue.
Gingival flap surgery
Flap surgery is a method used to treat advanced stages of periodontal disease. The method is used to remove anything in the gums that does not belong there. If the bone has been resorbed and a tooth is loose, bone grafting can be done. Treatment of periodontal disease using these methods requires the complete cooperation of the patient in maintaining ideal oral hygiene so that the results achieved can be maintained for as long as possible and periodontal disease halted in its progression.