Gum disease treatment saves teeth in Alliston, ON
Did you know that the leading cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease? It is true! Periodontitis claims more teeth than decay, trauma, abscess, or any other dental problem. The good news is that gum disease is largely preventable, and effective treatment at Dominion Street Dental in Alliston, ON can get existing gum conditions under control and help you manage gum health going forward.
How gum disease develops
Bacteria are single-cell organisms. They are believed to be the first living creatures on earth, evolving some 3.5 billion years ago. Thus, you can see how well-suited they are to adaptation and survival. Bacteria thrive in the warm, moist environment of the mouth. The average individual harbors about 300 to 700 different strains.
Not all oral bacteria are “bad” or detrimental. Some “good” strains of mouth bacteria are essential to oral health and overall wellness. For example, Streptococcus salivarius K12 works to cancel the foul odor produced by harmful bacteria, keeping your breath fresher. Probiotic bacteria in saliva begin the process of digestion, triggering an enzymatic reaction that starts to break food down before it reaches the stomach. Other types of bacteria help to fight off oral Candida, periodontal disease, and dental caries (cavities). Thus, the key to having a healthy mouth is to keep the oral ecosystem in balance, rather than trying to eliminate all bacteria.
When that balance is disrupted, harmful bacteria aggressively over-populate. This can occur when the body’s natural defenses are compromised by smoking, diabetes, pregnancy, or immune system disorders. Nutrition and oral hygiene play important roles. Some people are simply genetically prone to develop gum disease.
Regardless of the trigger, when gram-negative anaerobic bacteria such as A. actinomycetemcomitans, B. forsythus, C. rectus, E. nodatum, P. gingivalis, P. intermedia, P. micros, S. intermedius, or Treponema sp increase in number, gum disease generally occurs. These bacteria create a film of plaque which prevents saliva from flushing them out of the mouth. Plaque is sticky, so it traps food debris, allowing bacteria to feed on sugars and starches. As they eat, bacteria produce acidic waste that irritates gums. Plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing hardens into tartar at the gum line, irritating the gums even more.
At this point, gums can loosen from teeth, forming periodontal pockets around the tooth roots. It is difficult to brush food debris out of pockets, and the lack of a tight seal allows bacteria to make their way deeper into oral structures. Without intervention, they begin to attack periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in position, and dissolve the bone that surrounds teeth. As the disease progresses, teeth get loose. They may either need to be extracted or fall out on their own.
Meanwhile, offending bacteria enter the bloodstream through diseased tissues. There is a growing body of evidence that the bacterial strains responsible for periodontal disease are linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, respiratory ailments, Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and premature/low birth-weight babies.
Do you have gum disease?
If you brush after meals, floss before bedtime, eat a healthy diet, and maintain regular cleaning and examination appointments with your dentist, you may never get gum disease. However, about half of the adult population has some level of periodontal disease (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
With early detection, gingivitis (the initial stage of the disease) can be reversed. Please call Dominion Street Dental right away if you notice these gingivitis symptoms:
- Bleeding gums – You may find a little seepage on your pillowcase in the morning, or see pink in the toothpaste foam when you brush
- Puffy, discolored gums – They look swollen, blotchy, red, or purplish
- Sore gums – Gums may feel tender when you brush or when you press on them
- Persistent halitosis – Unusual breath odor accompanied by an odd taste in the mouth
- Receding gums – Inflammation from unchecked gingivitis causes gums to pull back; teeth look longer, and the yellowish root structure is exposed, which can cause sensitivity and be prone to decay without a protective layer of enamel
As gingivitis advances to periodontitis, teeth may feel tender or hurt when chewing. At this point, they may have shifted or you may be able to wiggle them. Bad breath can no longer be masked with gum or mints. You may have pus or abscesses around teeth. Treatment can still be successful, potentially saving your natural teeth, even at this advanced stage – but please do not delay!
Customized gum disease treatment in Alliston, ON
There is no gum disease cure, but as long as teeth remain, the condition can be treated and managed. Dr. Vozna takes a multi-phase approach, tailoring treatment to your degree of oral infection, overall health, and lifestyle.
Job number one is getting the gum disease in check and stabilized. This involves deep cleaning to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from teeth, including below the gum line. In some cases, this can be done with manual or ultrasonic instruments. In severe situations flap surgery may be necessary. In this procedure, small incisions allow Dr. Vozna to turn gum tissue back for deep cleaning. Diseased tissue is excised, and gums are sutured back in place. Deep cleaning helps to re-establish a healthy seal of gingival tissue to teeth, to keep pathogens out.
During deep cleaning, Dr. Vozna may apply topical antibiotics to fight infection, or prescribe a follow-up course of oral antibiotics. Prescription mouth rinse can aid in reducing harmful bacterial populations, and probiotics can work toward rebalancing healthy oral flora. You also receive nutritional and lifestyle advice, as well as guidance on home hygiene. With conscientious cleaning appointments (usually four times per year), most gum disease cases can be managed effectively.
Treatment options are available, even for advanced cases of periodontitis. Diminished bone can be supplemented with grafting and regeneration. Lost teeth may be replaced with dental implants, fixed dental bridges, partial dentures, or full dentures.
It not too late to seek gum disease treatment! Call Dominion Street Dental in Alliston, ON at (705) 435-4124 for an appointment with Dr. Vozna.