Many adults suffer from periodontal disease and many of them do not even realize it. They suffer from swollen, irritated and bleeding gums, yet do not recognize these as symptoms of an infection. If left untreated, this infection can spread and cause serious complications and serious health risks. In many cases, there is no pain associated with periodontal disease, so patients may tend to ignore the other symptoms, hoping they will go away on their own. For this reason, it is advisable to see a periodontal specialist, if you experience red, inflamed or bleeding gums, or any discharge around the gumline. The prefix “peri” means around, and odontal refer to the teeth, so periodontal disease affect the structures around the teeth.
The first stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis which is an infection of the soft tissue of the gums or gingiva. This infection is caused by bacteria present plaque and tartar that adhere to the surface enamel of the teeth. As the infection progresses, the supporting tissues also become infected. These can include the covering of the root of the tooth called the cementum and the periodontium which holds the teeth in place within the alveolar bone with the periodontal ligament. All these structures are susceptible to infection if it is allowed to spread. Eventually, the infection will cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots and the teeth to become loose due to bone loss. No one wants that. Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can also gravely affect the patient’s health in other ways. Periodontal disease has been linked to atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. It is also associated with complications of diabetes, respiratory function and even pregnancy.
The treatment of periodontal disease depends on the severity of the infection and how far it has spread into the supporting structures of the teeth. Ideally, the least invasive treatment is preferred, but if it is not effective, more aggressive treatment is indicated. Some treatments can be performed with lasers and some are surgical operations.
Manual scaling of the root surfaces, combined with topical and systemic antibiotic therapy is often a first line of attack against periodontal disease. Scaling and planing help to effectively clean the roots of the teeth and remove nasty plaque, tartar and associated bacteria that cause periodontal disease. This procedure will also prevent the infection from penetrating deep into the alveolus or socket and the loss of the tooth. Sometimes this treatment is all that is needed to stop periodontal disease in its tracks. It is strongly recommended that it be followed up with regular therapy to avoid a recurrence of infection.
When periodontal disease causes the gums to recede, this exposes the roots of the teeth and can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss. A surgical procedure to graft in healthy gum tissue from the patient’s own palate can repair this and prevent further damage. A gum graft is effective in restoring the gumline around one tooth or several teeth. This procedure is also helpful in reducing the sensitivity of the exposed root and, though not primarily a cosmetic procedure, it greatly improves smile aesthetics too!
If there has been some bone loss due to periodontal disease, Dr. Hanookai can actually reverse this damage with surgical regenerative procedures. In this procedure, Dr. Hanookai retracts the gum tissue and removes the bacteria that is causing the infection and bone loss. Then, depending on the extent of the damage she can perform a bone graft, or place special filters or membranes to restore the structure damaged by the disease. Special proteins can also be applied to the area to help stimulate growth and regenerate bone and tissue. The gums are then put back in place and the patient’s own natural healing processes will complete the restoration.
Dr. Delaram Hanookai DDS, is a specialist in periodontal disease and can quickly diagnose the presence of infection and begin an effective early course of treatment to prevent further progression of the disease. Working closely with her patients, she can prevent the damage caused by periodontal disease and avoid the dangers also associated with it. If you have any symptoms such as red, irritated, inflamed or bleeding gums, please make an appointment to come see Dr. Hanookai as soon as possible and she will work with you and begin treatment to save your teeth and your smile.
If you are suffering from more advanced periodontal disease, do not despair! There is still hope. Dr. Hanookai specializes in effective treatments and procedures that will not only prevent further damage, but also restore your teeth and gums to perfect condition. It may take several visits, but she promises that you will always receive the very best care and most effective treatment possible at Southland Dental Care.
Southland Dental Care is home of Los Angeles implant dentist, Dr. Delaram Hanookai, who is at your service for all your dental implant and periodontal needs.