Dental implants are perhaps the most important advancement in dentistry over the past 50 years. These permanent, natural looking replacements for missing teeth have changed the lives of millions of people by enabling them to eat solid foods, advance their careers, find romance, and enhance their overall quality of life. The number of implants placed per year is approaching the 5 million mark. Consumer demand is huge, based largely on the needs of the aging baby boomer population.
Part of this increased consumer demand is being driven by slick advertising campaigns from high-volume dental implant practices that may lead you to believe that all dental implants can be placed in one day. The fact is that this is not always true. Dental implants are not a “one size fits all” solution and each patient’s unique case is based on the following factors:
•The age of the patient
•How long the tooth has been missing
•Pre-existing periodontal disease
•Overall patient health
•Individual’s rate of healing
•Whether the implant is in the front or back of the mouth
Unfortunately, many high volume implant clinics won’t tell you this until you are sitting in the chair. When selecting a dentist to perform your implant surgery, you should ask the following questions:
•How long will my dental implant surgery take?
•Will computer technology be used to guide and position the dental implant?
•How long will it take for a full recovery?
As periodontists, we are uniquely qualified to assess your gums and underlying bone structure to determine if they can support and sustain a dental implant. If not, we can begin the building the foundation with specialized surgical procedures, including tissue grafting and bone regeneration, to help rebuild the strong foundation needed to bear the load of an implant during chewing, etc. Feel free to contact our office for more information or schedule a consultation. We are here to answer your questions honestly, accurately and without pressure.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
• Bleeding gums during brushing
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• Persistent bad breath
• Pus between the teeth and gums
• Loose or separating teeth
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that nearly one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth. The early stages of periodontal disease are often asymptomatic; many adults may have the disease and not know it.
“Periodontal disease is insidious,” warns Dr. Cady. “Many people don’t even know they have a problem until it turns into a severe case. Just because your teeth and gums don’t hurt, doesn’t mean your mouth is healthy.”
Over time, inflammation as a result of periodontal disease causes the gums and bones surrounding the teeth to recede. “When you lose teeth or the structures holding your teeth in place, the overall look of your face, mouth and smile will be impacted,” says Dr. Cady.
What’s more, periodontal disease can affect more than just your smile. Research has indicated that periodontal disease is associated with other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Routine brushing and flossing as well as receiving a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, or CPE, every year. A CPE gauges your periodontal health, diagnoses existing disease, assesses risk for disease, and determines any treatment, if needed. The CPE can be performed at your regular check-up by a member of the dental team, including a general dentist, dental hygienist or periodontist.
A smile is one of the first things we notice about another person, and the appearance of your smile can greatly affect how you are perceived by others. For some people, the condition of their gums prevents them from showing off their smile to others. However, a simple surgical procedure from a dental professional specially trained in the treatment of the tissues surrounding the teeth can help build confidence and allow these individuals to smile with assurance.
Procedures like tooth whitening and bonding are usually what come to mind when thinking of cosmetic procedures for the smile. What many people do not realize is that there are also procedures which can be performed on the gums to enhance the smiles of people who feel their teeth appear too long or too short.
After dental school, periodontists receive three years of specialized training in the treatment of the gums and other supporting structures of the teeth. This expertise makes them uniquely qualified to perform procedures that enhance the appearance of the gums, and ultimately improve one’s smile.
The answer for gums that are too long, or a “gummy smile,” may be crown lengthening, which is the second most popular cosmetic periodontal procedure for patients under age 50, according to an online poll of periodontists. With crown lengthening, excess gum and bone tissue is recontoured to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth to even your gum line, or to several teeth to expose a natural, broad smile.
Conversely, some people feel their teeth appear too long. If your tooth root is exposed because your gums have receded, soft tissue grafts can cover exposed roots, reduce further gum recession and protect vulnerable roots from decay.
If you are interested in having the best smile you can, talk with a periodontist. He or she can evaluate your current smile and provide a range of treatments available to help achieve the look you want
Not so long ago, it was rare for an older person to go to bed without taking out his or her dentures. However, endentulism (toothlessness) has been declining in this country since the 1950s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 25 percent of the current population over age 65 is toothless.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in older adults. However, people should realize that while their likelihood of developing periodontal disease does increase with age, maintaining periodontal health can help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime. Not everyone can avoid the signs of aging, such as wrinkles or the need for bifocals, but periodontal disease can often be prevented.
A variety of risk factors make older individuals especially susceptible to periodontal disease especially the presence of other diseases. Research has shown a connection between periodontal disease and other inflammatory diseases of aging, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or heart disease. Other factors that may influence the progression of gum disease include medications, mental health, worsening memory, diminished salivary flow and functional impairments.
To help prevent periodontal disease and maintain a healthy, toothy smile as you age, it is important to keep your dental professional up to date on any changes in your overall health. The goal is to make adjustments in oral care before these changes result in full- blown problems in the mouth.
Comprehensive daily oral care, including regular brushing and flossing, and routine visits to the dentist to avoid gum disease. If gum disease develops, a consultation with a dental professional, such as a periodontist, can lead to effective treatment.
Brush after every meal. Floss daily. See your dental professional regularly. These instructions make sense coming from your dentist to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy. But now not only dentists, but also many physicians understand the importance of maintaining oral health in an effort to keep the rest of the body healthy. Several research studies have suggested a potential association between gum disease and other health issues, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. As more and more research reinforces the connection between periodontal and systemic health, scientists are beginning to shift their focus to understanding why these connections exist. One theory points to chronic inflammation as the culprit.
Inflammation is the body’s instinctive reaction to fight off infection, guard against injury or shield against irritation. Inflammation is often characterized by swelling, redness, heat and pain around the affected area. While inflammation initially intends to heal the body, over time, chronic inflammation can lead to dysfunction of the infected tissues, and therefore more severe health complications.
Periodontal disease is a classic example of an inflammatory disorder. For many years, dental professionals believed that gum disease was solely the result of a bacterial infection caused by a build-up of plaque between the teeth and under the gums. While plaque accumulation is still a factor in the development and progression of gum disease, researchers now suspect that the more severe symptoms, namely swollen, bleeding gums; recession around the gum line, and loss of the bone that holds the teeth in place, may be caused by the chronic inflammatory response to the bacterial infection, rather than the bacteria itself.
Scientists hypothesize that this inflammatory response may be the cause behind the periodontal-systemic health link. Many of the diseases associated with periodontal disease are also considered to be systemic inflammatory disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease and even certain forms of cancer, suggesting that inflammation itself may be the basis for the connection.
More research is needed to pinpoint the precise biological mechanisms responsible for the relationship between gum disease and other disease states. However, previous findings have indicated that gum disease sufferers are at a higher risk for other diseases, making it more critical than ever to maintain periodontal health in order to achieve overall health.
Dr. Cady recommends comprehensive daily oral care, including regular brushing and flossing, and routine visits to the dentist to avoid gum disease. If gum disease develops, a consultation with a dental professional, such as a periodontist, can lead to effective treatment.