What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease, including gingivitis & periodontitis, is a silent painless ,chronic, communicable bacterial infection that often goes undetected or ignored until severe gum and bone destruction catches an individuals attention. There are two main aspects to the disease - the direct destructive effects of the bacteria themselves, and the individual's genetically determined immune response which further adds to the destructive bone loss.
Fifty out of every 100 adult Americans have moderate to severe gum disease, 40 out of the 50 do not know it, and fewer than two of them will get treated before it's too late. Gum disease is the most common human disease in the world!
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
In order to properly and effectively treat periodontal disease it is important to accurately diagnose the disease. Only with the correct diagnosis can the appropriate treatment be instituted. To facilitate accurate diagnosis and determine the extent of the infection the following information is required:
- Full mouth periodontal pocket recording/screening
- Appropriate x-rays
- Patient DNA analysis to determine genetic vulnerability to the disease
- Bacterial DNA analysis to isolate exactly which bacteria are causing the disease; this is repeated after treatment to confirm that therapy has been successful
At Nu-Smile Dental we are proud to be one of the very few dental facilities utilising the latest molecular diagnostic technology in the management of periodontal disease.
What is Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy?
Treatment of Gingivitis - A tiny laser fibre (about the thickness of three hairs) is inserted between the tooth and the gum and the infection is cleared away without cutting or stitching the gums. The procedure involves very little discomfort and does not require local anaesthetic. Treatment may require four sessions a week apart, dependent on the individual's diagnosis.
Treatment of Periodontitis - This is where laser therapy is used to treat moderate to advanced periodontal disease.The procedure is typically performed under local anaesthesia in order to eliminate any possible discomfort. As with gingivitis treatment, a tiny laser fibre is inserted between the tooth and the gum and the infection is cleared away without cutting or stitching the gums. The roots are then thoroughly cleaned of tartar and plaque and the laser is used again with a different setting to create a stable , firm blood clot to seal the pocket. For a short time afterwards patients need to follow a soft diet but other than this the procedure has minimal impact and very little post-operative discomfort.
At Nu-Smile Dental we are proud to be one of few dental facilities where Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy is available.
How effective is Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy?
A recent peer reviewed manuscript published in The International Journal of Periodontics & Restorative Dentistry (volume 27, December 2007) demonstrated uniformly positive histologic success in the treatment of moderate to severe gum disease. New connective tissue attachment and regeneration of root surface was achieved in 100% of cases studied using an Nd:Yag laser.
What are the Risk Factors in developing the disease?
There are many risk factors known in the development of Periodontal Disease. The most common are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Certain medications
- Immune disorders
Can Diet play role?
Yes. A recent article published in the February 2009 edition of The Journal of The American Dental Association examined the effects of nutrition on periodontal inflammation. The author outlined the benefits of diets containing foods naturally rich in anti-oxidants and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as the dangers of diets that are high in refined carbohydrates. We recommend that patients undertaking periodontal therapy supplement their diets with Vitamin C,Vitamin D, Calcium and antioxidants such as Coenzyme Q10 and Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The Whole Body-Mouth Connection
Periodontal Inflammation is strongly linked to:
- Heart disease and heart attacks
- Many cancers including pancreatic cancer
- Adult onset diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature birth defects
- Pre-term births
What is the traditional treatment option for Periodontal Disease?
Traditionally, patients diagnosed with moderate to severe gum disease have undergone periodontal surgery where scalpels and sutures were required. This is a highly invasive and painful procedure. During the surgery gums are cut and flapped off the bone around the tooth/teeth, exposing the roots of the teeth in order to scrape tartar off the roots. Drills are then used to reshape bone. Once this is complete , the gums are repositioned to the tooth with stitches, sometimes along with the placement of bone grafts to fill in the defects. The process is long and is irreversible. Surgery is followed by a lengthy recovery period where repositioned gum tissue and exposed roots can be sensitive, painful and subject to cavities. Since these treatments are extreme and painful, patients often delay or refuse treatment.
Please make an appointment so that we can provide you with the correct information according to your individual needs.