Understanding Gum Disease… Is It Affecting YOU?
Periodontal disease affects over 90% of Americans each year and the reality is that you will experience some form of it over the course of your life. The only question is to what degree. The main culprit of the disease is dental bacterial plaque, the biofilm that results when bacteria concentrate at the gum line in everyone’s mouth.
Think of your mouth as an ecosystem with your own oral tissues living alongside millions of bacteria. However, without thorough brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings, this balance can tip towards the first stage of periodontal disease—gingivitis or inflammation of the gingiva (gums). Without proper treatment, gingivitis can evolve into periodontitis, that can result in teeth becoming loose and possibly lost.
You can easily see what an unsightly gap a missing tooth leaves — but that’s really just the first sign of trouble ahead! Far more worrisome is the fact that tooth loss is generally followed by loss of bone in the jaw. This may lead to greater problems with the bite, and eventually, changes in facial appearance. When you need to replace a missing tooth, a dental implant is the premier option. Why?
Dental implants look and feel just like your natural teeth. More important, they don’t decay, are relatively free from gum disease, and can last a lifetime. But perhaps the best reason for choosing implants is that they help preserve the tooth-supporting bone structure that would otherwise begin to deteriorate after a tooth has been lost.
Most dental implants consist of two parts: a screw-shaped post made of titanium metal, which sits under the gum line, and a lifelike crown, custom-fabricated to match your own teeth. The post, which is implanted in a minor surgical procedure, will actually fuse with the underlying bone in your jaw. This occurs during a healing period of a few months, after which the crown is attached. The success rate for this procedure is over 95% — the highest of any tooth-replacement option!
The impact of laser technology has been rapidly growing since the mid-1960s when it was first introduced in the healthcare sector as a surgical tool. Using LASERS, short for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, we are now able to perform procedures on the soft tissues of the mouth with patients reporting less postoperative pain than traditional methods. The reason for this success is due to the fact that laser procedures minimize bleeding, swelling, scarring, and pain.
Computed tomography (CT), and the three-dimensional images it provides, was developed in 1973. The technology, while primitive, was amazing to the practitioners involved. Those practitioners where at a loss of how to apply CT, and had no idea of the profound effect it would have on the surgical and medical community. It took several years of development and a new segment of the specialty of radiology, but CT has become an integral part of surgical treatment of the patients of today.