Background: Periodontal Disease
Two major causes of tooth loss are caries (cavities) and gum disease. Both disease are caused by strains of bacteria living in the human mouth. Bacteria grow into vast colonies around teeth and form dental plaque — the yellow material found around teeth. Bacteria feed on sugars in our diet and produce the acid which destroys tooth structure, and the toxins which irritate the gum and cause bone loss around teeth.
The disease caused by this second process is called periodontitis: bone and gum loss surrounding the tooth. Periodontitis has several stages. The initial stage is gingivitis, or the inflammation and irritation of gums by the bacterial plaque. The symptoms of gum disease are often bleeding gums and receding gums. Gums may be sore and sensitive, and patients may have bad breath.
Gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which can be described as mild, moderate, or severe. The symptoms of this disease range from bleeding with brushing to severe mobility of the teeth and inability to chew.
The other symptoms of periodontal disease are halitosis (bad breath) and malodor, sensitive gums, and gum recession around teeth. Scientists also propose that bacteria may enter the bloodstream and irritate other organs of the body, and contribute to systemic conditions such as stroke, pregnancy complications, renal problems, endocarditis, and prosthetic joint infection.
Gum and periodontal treatment depends on the degree of damage caused to the gums and bone. The first treatment, and the treatment for gingivitis, is thorough dental hygiene, both at home and in the office. At home, daily brushing, flossing, and use of a water irrigation device (such as WaterPik) are recommended. In the office, periodic dental cleanings by a dentist or hygienist as frequently as every three months.
If the calculus (or tartar) around the teeth is deep to the gum, a procedure known as “scaling and root planing” (or “deep cleaning”) is indicated. Following a deep cleaning, the health of the periodontium is re-assessed and patients are offered a regular cleaning interval. In addition, if some signs and symptoms persist, such as continued chronic inflammation of the gum and bone or tooth mobility, periodontal surgery may be advised. Periodontal surgeries focus on the removal of unhealthy and uncleansable tissue and possible grafting to correct bony defects.
In cases where teeth may be hopeless because of level of periodontal disease, teeth may be lost and replaced with dental implants. Dr. Yuriy Yakubov offers the full range of dental implant treatment — both the placement of implants in the bone and the placement of crowns or bridges over the implants.
In addition, Dr. Yakubov performs many types of periodontal treatments, including scaling and root planing, periodontal surgeries, and implant placement. A modern method in our office for treatment of periodontitis is a dental laser, which painlessly removes diseased tissue and promotes the fast regrowth of healthy tissue.