Dental FAQ's Periodontal FAQ's

Plaque is the accumulation of bacteria, microorganisms and their products which sticks to the tooth surfaces. Dental plaque is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing the teeth. Accumulation of plaque can lead to Gum disease (gingivitis) and periodontal disease, as well as tooth decay.

Plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria which is constantly forming on teeth. Saliva, food and fluids combine to produce these deposits that collect on teeth and where teeth and Gums meet.

Plaque begins forming on teeth 4 to 12 hours after brushing, which is why it is so important to brush at least twice daily and floss daily.

Calculus is dental plaque that has mineralized. Calculus can form when plaque is not removed from the tooth surfaces. This plaque becomes old and eventually forms into calculus. Calculus can form above or below the Gum line. The bacteria that stick to calculus can cause Gum disease (gingivitis) or periodontal disease. Calculus cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. A dental hygienist checks for calculus formation when you visit the dental office. It is removed with special instruments designed to adapt to the tooth surface affected without causing trauma to the soft Gums.

Plaque, which is not removed by regular brushing and flossing, can harden into unsightly tartar (also called calculus). A dentist can only remove this crusty deposit. Tartar formation may also make it more difficult for you to remove new plaque and bacteria. The prevention of tartar build-up above the Gum line has not been shown to have a therapeutic effect on Gum disease.

Periodontal disease affects the periodontium (the supporting structures of the teeth). The cause of this disease is multifactorial, but the presence of bacteria in plaque certainly plays a major role. The supporting periodontal structures begin to breakdown. This can mean that part of the bone that supports the teeth or the ligaments that hold the teeth securely in place are destroyed. This disease process is generally not reversible and may require treatment from a dental professional specializing in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can develop as a result of poor daily plaque control (e.g. brushing and flossing). However, not everyone with poor brushing and flossing techniques will develop this condition. It is wise to visit your dental hygienist or dentist regularly in order to detect early stages of the disease and to prevent further damage.

The gingiva (Gum) is the protective type of skin that is closely adapted to the necks of the teeth and covers the bone holding the roots of the teeth. There is a shallow ditch like space that separates the margin of the normal gingiva from the tooth surface. This space is 2mm in depth and is called gingival sulcus. It is one of the places that a dentist will carefully examine to detect the presence of Gum disease.

The colour of the gingiva is usually coral pink, but it can vary according to the complexion of the in individual. In general, darker persons have darker gingiva; but in some individuals there can be excess of pigments that give the gingiva a brownish tinge.

Each tooth consists of two parts (a) the crown - that can be seen in the mouth of the person and (b) the root that is enclosed within the bone and the gingiva. The tooth is not directly attached to the bone, for there is a thin, elastic and fibrous tissue between them called the periodontal ligament, which attaches the tooth to the surrounding bone. When the tooth is used for biting or chewing, the periodontal ligament acts like a cushion and prevents the biting or chewing force to be directly transferred to the jaw bone. The gingiva, periodontal ligament and the bone that encloses the roots of the teeth are collectively referred to as periodontal tissue.

A Periodontist is a specialist trained in the care of periodontal tissues or Gums and other tissues that support the teeth. Periodontist has extra education and experience that allow them to use special techniques to treat advanced periodontal diseases.

Yes it does. Between the roots of the teeth and its surrounding bone there is a thin, fibrous and elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. Because of this if one holds the tooth with two fingers and tries to shake it gently, the tooth will be felt to move a fraction of a millimeter. In the presence of Gum disease this movement increases as a result of a reduction of tooth supporting tissues around the roots.

The mouth of an unborn child is free of bacteria, but during its birth it becomes colonized by bacteria from the mother birth canal. Shortly afterwards other species of bacteria are acquired from the infant environment. The bacteria in the infant mouth share all the food that the infant takes and multiply and become permanent residents of the mouth. When the child becomes older and teeth erupt, the sulcus is also formed around the erupted teeth. The sulcus becomes the new hiding place for some species of bacteria while others prefer the hard surface of the teeth to colonize. The bacteria are not harmful and the individual teeth and periodontal tissues are free of any disease as long as the teeth and their surroundings are kept reasonably clean by regular tooth brushing. Visit Periodontal / Gum Treatment Section for further details

Gum disease begins when plaque adheres at and below the visible edge of your Gums. If plaque is not removed every day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tartar promotes a bacterial infection at the point of attachment. In these early stages, Gum disease is called gingivitis. Your Gums may be a bit red, but you may not notice anything. As gingivitis gets more serious, tiny pockets of infection form. Your Gums may be puffy and may bleed a little when you brush, but it is not painful. Over time, the infection destroys the Gum tissue. Eventually, you may be at risk of losing one or more teeth.

Gum disease, is an infection of the Gums caused by bacteria. These bacteria produce toxins that irritate the gingiva, and also directly infiltrate into the gingiva causing them to become inflamed and bleed easily. If the irritation persists, the gingiva separate from the teeth and form pockets. Plaque then forms within these pockets and eventually destroys the gingiva and the underlying bone. The teeth may then become loose and fall out or need to be removed. There are other factors that may contribute to Gum diseases. They are as follows•

  • Plaque traps-Decayed teeth, broken or ill fitting dentures, crowded or crooked teeth, improper filled teeth may provide secure areas for plaque to form, from where it cannot be removed by routine oral hygiene methods.
  • Systemic factors-Individuals with diseases such as Diabetes, leukemia or people who are on certain medications may be particularly prone to Gum diseases, because their resistance to this disease has been lowered and/or that their Gums become increasingly sensitive to any local irritation.

Plaque is the primary cause of Gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease as well. These include:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation, make Gums more sensitive, which makes it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Illnesses may affect the condition of your Gums. This includes diseases such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body ability to use blood sugar, patients with this disease are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease.
  • Medications can affect oral health because some lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and Gums. Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant medication Dilantin and the anti-angina drug Procardia and Adalat, can cause abnormal growth of Gum tissue.
  • Bad habits such as smoking, make it harder for Gum tissue to repair itself.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis, make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development of gingivitis.

Common signs are bleeding, red and swollen Gums. Irrespective of the person complexion, the Gums should never be red, or be swollen. Persistent bad breath, receding Gums, increasing spaces between the teeth, one or more teeth becoming loose, and vague aching, itching or discomfort around the Gums are some of the other common signs.

Gum disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. The symptoms of Gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender Gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding Gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and Gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.

Even if you don not notice any symptoms, you may still have some degree of Gum disease. In some people, Gum disease may affect only certain teeth, such as the molars. Only a dentist or a Periodontist can recognize and determine the progression of Gum disease.

During a dental exam, your dentist typically checks for these things:

  • Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pockets (the space between the Gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
  • Your jawbone to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth

Gum diseases are the main source of bad breath; other causes include diseases of the sinuses, lungs, stomach and throat infection.

Yes, some drugs like Dilantin sodium taken for treatment of Epilepsy result in swollen Gums. These conditions often require surgical excision of the swelling constant maintenance treatment. Visit Periodontal / Gum Treatment Section for further details

As keeping the mouth clean is not an easy job almost everybody need professional cleaning. But this kind of cleaning is essential particularly for those who are unable to prevent tarter accumulation on their teeth.

Mouthwash reduces the amount of bacteria present in the mouth and provides an opportunity for the Gum to heal. However mouthwashes can be harmful if used for prolonged time without professional monitoring.

It is a good habit to massage the Gums after brushing, for it improves the blood circulation to the area and helps it to maintain health.

Very Common. Seven out of 10 People develop Gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a real problem. That is why it is so important to prevent Gum disease before it becomes serious.

Prevention is the most important factor in the fight against Gum disease. It is essential to keep your teeth and Gums clean. Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day and floss at least once every 24 hours. Using proper brushing and flossing techniques is equally important. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and checkups, so that he or she can detect any early signs of Gum disease, and provide appropriate treatment.

The goals of Gum disease treatment are to promote reattachment of healthy Gums to teeth; reduce swelling, the depth of pockets, and the risk of infection; and to stop disease progression. Treatment options depend on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Options range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues. A full description of the various treatment options is provided in Gum Disease Treatments.

Gum disease can be reversed in nearly all cases when proper plaque control is practiced. Proper plaque control consists of professional cleanings at least twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. Brushing eliminates plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that can be reached; flossing removes food particles and plaque from in between the teeth and under the Gum line. Antibacterial mouth rinses can reduce bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque and Gum disease, according to the American Dental Association. Other health and lifestyle changes that will decrease the risk, severity, and speed of Gum disease development include:

  • Stop smoking. Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for development of Periodontitis. Smokers are seven times more likely to get Gum disease than nonsmokers, and smoking can lower the chances of success of some treatments.
  • Reduce stress. Stress may make it difficult for your body immune system to fight off infection.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps your immune system fight infection. Eating foods with antioxidant properties, for example, those containing vitamin E or vitamin C (vitamin E-containing foods include vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables; vitamin C-containing foods include citrus fruits, broccoli, and potatoes) can help your body repair damaged tissue.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth. These actions may put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could increase the rate at which these tissues are destroyed.

Despite following good oral hygiene practices and making other healthy lifestyle choices, the American Academy of Periodontology says that up to 30% of the Americans may be genetically susceptible to Gum disease. And those who are genetically predisposed may be up to six times more likely to develop some form of Gum disease. If anyone in your family has Gum disease, it may mean that you are at greater risk as well. If you are more susceptible to Gum disease, your dentist or Periodontist may recommend more frequent check-ups, cleanings, and treatments to better manage the condition.

If you have Gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your Gums a chance to get better. That is why in the early stages of Gum disease, the best treatment is cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist to remove built-up tartar, brushing twice a day to remove plaque and flossing once a day to remove plaque. When Gum disease is more serious, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist called a Periodontist. A Periodontist is a specialist in treating Gum disease, and in restoring (or regenerating) bone and Gum tissue that have been lost because of Gum disease. A Periodontist also treats serious forms of Gum disease that do not get better with normal dental care. When serious Gum disease is found, brushing and flossing become even more important. Visit Periodontal / Gum Treatment Section for further details

During pregnancy some change in hormonal level in the body does occur. This causes the Gum to be hypersensitive and therefore over react to any local irritation. Even in the presence of small quantities of plaque the Gums get inflamed. Some times big localized swelling may form. A few weeks after the birth of the child when the mothers hormonal level comes to normal the periodontal condition usually returns to the situation that existed before the pregnancy.

Yes, but it is not common. However children with very poor oral hygiene do get Gum disease.

Yes, Vitamin C deficiency is known to cause a condition known as Scurvy.

Yes, the ingredients present like lime, tobacco and other byproducts can stain the teeth, help plaque accumulation and irritate the Gums. Some ingredients in pan have been shown to cause cancer in the mouth.

Uncontrolled diabetes can make the Gum more prone to periodontal disease. Diabetes patients also suffer from delayed healing of the Gum tissue.

By keeping good oral hygiene, having regular dental check-ups and a good balanced diet

Bleeding Gums indicated presence of Gum disease. As poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of Gum disease one should realize that it is improper brushing technique and flossing was the cause of the problem. Correct brushing and flossing technique should be adopted, which should be supplemented by mouth wash.

Brushing: Brush your teeth gently, paying special attention to the areas where your teeth and Gums meet. Clean every surface of every tooth. Use the tip of your brush to clean behind your upper and lower front teeth. Flossing: Take a piece of floss about 18 inches long and wrap it around your middle fingers. Using a clean section of floss each time, wrap the floss into a C shape around a tooth. Wipe it over the tooth, from base to tip, a couple of times. Repeat on each tooth.

Gingivitis, also generally called Gum disease or periodontal disease, describes the events that begin with bacterial growth in your mouth and may end if not properly treated with tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.

Gingivitis (Gum inflammation) usually precedes periodontitis (Gum disease). However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causes the Gums to become inflamed (red and swollen) and often easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the Gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to Periodontitis. In a person with Periodontitis, the inner layer of the Gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and Gums collect debris and can become infected. The bodys immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the Gum line. Toxins or poisons -- produced by the bacteria in plaque as well as the body "good" enzymes involved in fighting infections -- start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more Gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become loose and tooth loss occurs. Gum disease, in fact, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Visit Periodontal / Gum Treatment Section for further details

Periodontal (Gum) disease may result from gingivitis, an inflammation of the Gums usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque. Plaque is the sticky film that accumulates on teeth both above and below the Gum line. Without regular dental checkups, periodontal disease may result if gingivitis is left untreated. It also can cause inflammation and destruction of tissues surrounding and supporting teeth, Gums (gingiva), bone and fibres which hold the Gums to the teeth. A number of factors increase the probability of developing periodontal disease, including diabetes, smoking, poor oral hygiene, diet, and genetic makeup; and it is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults.

According to the CDC, researchers have uncovered potential links between Gum disease and other serious health conditions. In people with healthy immune systems, the bacteria in the mouth that makes its way into the bloodstream is usually harmless. But under certain circumstances, the CDC says these microorganisms are associated with health problems such as stroke and heart disease. Diabetes is not only a risk factor for Gum disease, but Gum disease may make diabetes worse.

No, but they are helpful for physically handicapped patients.

If the Gum disease is diagnosed at a stage when there is not much loss of periodontal tissues, the lost tissues can be grafted. Grafts can be of soft tissues or hard tissues. The former is always taken from another site in the mouth of the patient being treated. Hard tissue grafts can purchased from tissue banks.

It is estimated that 12 to 14 million people, or one-third of the population in the United States, have diabetes, but only one-half of these individuals are diagnosed. Studies have shown that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal disease than those who do not have diabetes. Oral infections tend to be more severe in diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients. And, diabetics who do not have good control over their blood sugar levels tend to have more oral health problems. These infections occur more often after puberty and in aging patients.

Diabetics may experience diminished salivary flow and burning mouth or tongue. Dry mouth (Xerostomia) also may develop, causing an increased incidence of decay. Gum recession has been found to occur more frequently and more extensively in moderate- and poorly-controlled diabetic patients because plaque responds differently, creating more harmful proteins in the Gums. To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, and more frequent cleanings.

Make sure to take extra good care of your mouth and have dental infections treated immediately. Diabetics who receive good dental care and have good insulin control typically have a better chance at avoiding Gum disease. Diet and exercise may be the most important changes that diabetics can make to improve their quality of life and their oral health. Diabetic patients should be sure both their medical and dental care providers are aware of their medical history and periodontal status. To keep teeth and Gums strong, diabetic patients should be aware of their blood sugar levels in addition to having their triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis. These may have a direct correlation on your chances of obtaining periodontal disease.

If your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both your dentist and physician about receiving elective dental care. Dental procedures should be as short and as stress free as possible. Also make morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of day. If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and take your medications as directed. See your dentist on a regular basis, keep him or her informed of your health status, and keep your mouth in good health.

Deposition of plaque/calculus on teeth, Gum Swelling, Periodontal Problems, Tooth Abscess and Cavities in Tooth can cause bad breath. Off course, other than dental problems, bad breath can be caused by throat / ear infection, sinusitis and gastric problems.

Periodontics deals with treatment of diseases of gum, surrounding teeth. The condition is treated by scaling, deep curettage, flap surgery, alveolar bone reconstruction surgery, bone grafting etc.

Tooth abscess is likely which causes surrounding gum and bone to become infected. Meet your dentist for an immediate evaluation and treatment.

Maintaining dental health has two main components — at-home dental hygiene and professional cleanings and examinations. Simple maintenance of your dental health can prevent complications such as tooth loss, as well as the need for restorative or cosmetic dentistry in the future.

Good oral hygiene starts at home, though it needs to be supplemented by regular visits to our cosmetic and general dentistry practice. Steps you can take to prevent tooth decay and gum disease include:

  • Thorough brushing: Brush at least twice daily using a soft-bristle toothbrush and an IDA accepted toothpaste. This helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and the need for costly cosmetic or restorative dentistry in the future. Replace your brush every two to three months.
  • Proper flossing: Flossing is crucial to the health of your teeth and gums and the prevention of gum disease. When flossing, use an 18-inch strand of floss. Ease the floss between each tooth; then, sweep it up and down several times while curving around the tooth at the gum line. Don’t forget to floss behind your last tooth and to floss bridges and artificial teeth with the aid of a floss threader.
  • Regular dental visits: At every regularly-scheduled dental appointment at a Dental Clinic, the dentist will carefully check your teeth, gums, mouth, and throat. A checkup at the Dental Clinic includes:

1. A head and neck examination: This includes a cancer exam, facial exam, palpation of chewing muscles, palpation of lymph nodes, and an exam of the temporomandibular (jaw) joint.

2. A clinical dental examination: This includes a periodontal exam and examinations of the mobility of teeth, the mucous membranes, saliva, occlusion (bite), removable appliances, and contact between teeth. If we detect tooth decay or broken fillings, we will discuss appropriate action with you.

3. A full set of digital X-rays

4. A dental cleaning (prophylaxis): This includes scaling plaque, polishing teeth, flossing, assessing your mouth’s cleanliness, and providing oral hygiene instructions. If you wish to learn more about proper brushing and flossing techniques, ask your dentist about it at this stage of the visit. Following the clinical dental exam, your dentist will discuss a detailed treatment plan, if necessary. One of our friendly receptionists will schedule a follow-up visit for you. Regular dental visits, along with a thorough home care regimen, are a key to a lifetime of good oral health. General dentistry of this type can prevent the need for cosmetic or restorative dentistry later in life.

Gum disease has several stages. The initial stage is called gingivitis and is an infection of the gingival (gum tissue). In this stage, gums become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. The underlying bone is unaffected. In later stages, however, gum disease can lead to bone loss and the loosening or even loss of teeth. Gum disease treatment varies according to the stage of the disease. At its mildest stages, gingivitis can be treated by clearing plaque and tartar deposits from the gum pockets. Severe gum disease, on the other hand, might require treatment that includes bone and gum grafts.

It is possible that you have a condition called Lichen Planus. It has an unknown cause but can be an allergic reaction. Have you changed your toothpaste brand, medications, etc? Also, it may be aggravated by stress!

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