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Posts for tag: gum disease

By Dental Associates of Shelton
January 07, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

Periodontal (gum) disease may begin superficially, but it can eventually work its way deeper below the gums to become a threat to the teeth and the underlying bone. The tooth roots are especially vulnerable to the disease with long-lasting implications to the tooth's survival.

An infection usually begins with dental plaque, a thin biofilm on tooth surfaces that harbor the bacteria that cause gum disease. The infection may eventually reach an area around the tooth roots called a furcation, where the roots branch off from the main tooth body. If the disease gains a foothold in a furcation, it could seriously erode the infected bone structure.

This often occurs in stages, commonly classified as early, moderate or advanced ("through and through"). In the first stage, the infected area exposes a slight groove in the tooth, but no significant structural loss. The next stage shows bone loss of at least two millimeters. In the most advanced stage, the bone loss now extends all the way beneath the tooth from one side to the other.

As with any situation caused by gum disease, it's best to catch a furcation involvement early and initiate treatment. As with any case of gum disease, the objective is to remove accumulated plaque and tartar (hardened plaque), which both fuel the infection. With plaque removed, the periodontal tissues can begin to heal and possibly regenerate.

It can be hard to achieve these outcomes because furcations are difficult to access. Although we may be able to clean the roots with tools like scalers (curettes) or ultrasonic equipment, we might still need to surgically access the area to completely remove the infection.

Initial treatment of furcations is often only the beginning. Someone with this level of gum disease usually needs continuous, heightened dental care and maintenance to prevent reinfection, often by an experienced hygienist working in consultation with a periodontist (gum specialist). It's also common to surgically alter the tissues around a furcation to make them easier to inspect and clean.

The best scenario, of course, is to avoid an infection altogether, or at least diagnose it before it becomes this advanced. The best way to stay gum (and tooth) healthy is to be sure you brush and floss every day, and see your dentist for cleanings and checkups at least twice a year.

If you would like more information on treating furcations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What are Furcations?

By Dental Associates of Shelton
February 20, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

Developing an infection in the gums can lead to gum disease. Left untreated, tooth loss can result. Learning to recognize the early signs of gum disease so it can be treated promptly. Dr. Michael Caserta and Dr. Adrian Basu, the family dentists at Dental Associates of Shelton, can have several ways to treat gum disease, as well as restore gum health and prevent tooth loss.

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas, including the bone that supports the teeth. tooth loss can occur when the bone becomes severely infected, which is why it is critical to treat gum disease as soon as possible. Early signs of gum disease include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Gum sensitivity
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, tender, or swollen gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A periodontal abscess

If you have developed any of these signs, schedule an appointment with one of the family dentists at our office in Shelton. Several treatments exist for restoring the health of infected gum tissue.

Treatment Methods

Treating gum disease as soon as the early warning signs are detected can help prevent eventual tooth loss by restoring the health of infected gums and preventing the infection from spreading to the bone. Methods for treating gum disease include both surgical and non-surgical therapies. Our family dentists can determine which techniques are best for restoring gum health your case based on the extent of the infection and other factors. Gum disease therapies include:

  • Gum Grafting: A method for replacing lost or damaged gum tissue with healthy tissue grafted from another area of the mouth.
  • Scaling and Root Planing: A method for deep-cleaning plaque and tartar below the gum line.
  • Periodontal Plastic Surgery: A method for reshaping damaged gum tissue to achieve a more pleasing appearance.
  • Crown Lengthening Surgery: A method for exposing more of the tooth when there is excess gum tissue covering it. This is sometimes necessary when placing dental crowns over damaged teeth.

See one of the experienced family dentists at our office in Shelton right away if you have developed some of the early signs of gum disease. Starting treatment right away can restore gum health and prevent tooth loss. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Caserta or Dr. Basu, call Dental Associates of Shelton at (203) 924-4115.

By Dental Associates of Shelton
July 18, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Over a lifetime, teeth can endure temperatures ranging from freezing to near boiling, biting forces of as much as 150 pounds per square inch and a hostile environment teeming with bacteria. Yet they can still remain healthy for decades.

But while they’re rugged, they’re not indestructible — they can incur serious damage from tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, two of the most prevalent oral infections. If that happens, you could be faced with the choice of removing the tooth or trying to save it.

Because today’s restorations like dental implants are quite durable and amazingly life-like, it might seem the decision is a no-brainer — just rid your mouth of the troubled tooth and replace it. But from a long-term health perspective, it’s usually better for your gums, other teeth and mouth structures to try to save it.

How we do that depends on the disease and degree of damage. Tooth decay, for example, starts when high levels of acid soften the minerals in the outer enamel. This creates a hole, or cavity, that we typically treat first by filling with metal amalgam or, increasingly, composite resins color-matched to the tooth.

If decay has invaded the pulp (the innermost layer of the tooth), you’ll need a root canal treatment. This procedure removes infected material from the pulp and replaces the empty chamber and the root canals with a special filling to guard against another infection. We then cap the tooth with a life-like crown for added protection.

Gum disease, on the other hand, is caused by dental plaque (a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces), and requires a different approach. Here, the strategy is to remove all of the plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) we can find with special hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment, and often over several sessions. If the infection extends deeper or has created deep pockets of disease between the teeth and gums, surgery or more advanced techniques may be necessary.

Though effective, some of these treatments can be costly and time-consuming; the tooth itself may be beyond repair. Your best move is to first undergo a complete dental examination. From there, we can give you your best options for dealing with a problem tooth.

If you would like more information on the best treatment approach for your teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?