Periodontal disease is a silent disease of the supporting structures of the teeth, including gums, bone and periodontal ligaments. It affects more than 80% of Americans by the age 45. Most periodontal disease is caused by the growth of plaque around your teeth. Plaque has bacteria in it, which produces toxins that can irritate the gums. The irritated gums may turn red, swell and bleed. Plaque can also solidify into a coarse, spongy substance called calculus or tartar. This can happen above and below the gum line. As the disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place begin to deteriorate, which if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. Pain is not usually a symptom of periodontal disease, thus making it even more difficult to detect. Because symptoms (redness, swollen gums and bleeding gums) are not always present, a regular comprehensive dental exam is the only way to rule out that periodontal disease is present.
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When gum recession occurs, the body loses a natural defense against bacteria trauma. Gum reconstruction using grafting techniques is an option in treating gum recession.
In cases where only minor recession is occurring, some of the healthy gum tissue remains protecting the teeth. Therefore, the only treatment necessary is a modification of home care practices.
However, when the recession is more advanced, the gum tissue protecting the teeth is no longer there, making your tooth and bone structure vulnerable to bacteria. In addition, there is an increase in root sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet foods. As gum recession continues to progress, it can also leave an unsightly appearance to the gum and tooth.
A gum graft is designed to help correct these problems. A thin piece of tissue is taken either from the roof of the mouth or an adjacent area and placed around the tooth to provide stability. This procedure is highly predictable and provides optimum results.
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When a person is missing a tooth, the jawbone associated with that missing tooth gradually shrinks, leaving that person with a poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for the placement of dental implants. Often times, these eliminates that person from being a good candidate for dental implants.
With the advancements in today’s technology, we are able to grow bone where needed. This not only enables us to place implants of the right length and width, it also provides us with the opportunity to restore a person’s natural function of their teeth while maintaining an esthetic appearance.
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