New York / Long Island Periodontists Overview of Periodontal Disease
Dr. Richard Nejat and Dr. Daniel Nejat are board-certified periodontists providing advanced treatments for the gum and bone structures surrounding the teeth. As some of the most accomplished periodontists in New York and New Jersey, they recognize that healthy teeth begin with healthy gums and jaw bones. Therefore, they offer comprehensive treatments that improve the overall health of the mouth and enhance the longevity of dental implants.
Periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal or gum diseases are serious infections affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. These tissues include the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Without treatment, periodontal disease can result in tooth loss (See Stages of the Disease).
Periodontal disease is usually a slow, painless, progressive disease. Most adults with periodontal disease are unaware they have it. If diagnosed and treated early the teeth can be saved.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The main cause of periodontal disease is the accumulation of plaque bacteria (see picture at left). Plaque is an often colorless mass of bacteria that sticks to teeth, crowns and bridges, and other tissues in the oral cavity. Plaque is constantly forming on the teeth. Plaque irritates the gums, causing them to become red, tender, and swollen.
If not removed daily, plaque becomes the hard material known as tartar or calculus. Calculus cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. A dentist, periodontist, or hygienist must remove it manually to stop the disease process.
With time, the tissues that attach the gums to the teeth are destroyed by plaque and its by-products. The gums “pull away” from the teeth and pockets begin to form between the teeth and gums. Plaque and calculus continue to fill these pockets until eventually, the jawbone supporting the teeth is destroyed.
Other factors can modify how your gums react to plaque or calculus, thereby altering your body’s response to the disease and affecting your overall health:
- Smoking/Tobacco Use
- Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
- Pregnancy and Puberty
- Diet and Nutrition
- Immunosuppression (i.e. leukemia, AIDS)
How is Gum Disease Treated?
The highly educated New York / New Jersey periodontists of Advanced Periodontics & Implant Dentistry offer several treatments for gum disease, including:
Scaling and root planing. Scaling involves the removal of the plaque and calculus deposits on the tooth surfaces, while root planing is the smoothing of the root surfaces in order to promote reattachment of the gum tissue to the tooth.
Flap/Osseous Therapy allows the periodontist to gain access to the root of the tooth for removal of plaque, calculus, and diseased tissue. The gum is then carefully sutured back into place. Flap therapy may sometimes be accompanied by minor osseous (bone) shaping or removal in order to ease tissue positioning, facilitate home care, and simplify your maintenance appointments.
Guided tissue regeneration (GTR) involves the use of a biocompatible membrane material, often in combination with a bone graft, that promotes the growth of lost tissue and bone around your tooth. Not every case is suitable for grafting, so at your consultation, we can determine if this procedure can benefit you.
Visit our Bone Regeneration page to read more about Guided Tissue Regeneration.
Periodontal Diseases in the US Population
The latest research shows that 92 % of us have calculus (tartar) in our mouths, and 3 out of every 4 has calculus beneath the gums, where it causes the most severe damage. Over 1/2 of the adults over the age of 35 are already in the early stages of periodontal disease. In fact, periodontal disease is the primary cause of tooth loss after the age of 35.
-Statistics taken from: Oliver, Brown and Loe, Journal of Periodontology, 1998
Albandar et al, 1999, Journal of Periodontology, 1999
What You Can Do…
Periodontal health begins at home. Together with the state-of-the-art treatment methods available today, you can be confident your teeth can be saved. But what can YOU do? Here are some tips for maintaining periodontal health at home:
- Brush your teeth three times daily.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Eat good, well-balanced meals.
- Avoid sticky, sugary snacks.
- Examine you mouth for signs of periodontal disease regularly.
- Visit your dentist for check-ups and cleanings at least twice a year.
Your New Jersey / New York periodontist is the first line of defense and in the best position to detect the early signs of periodontal disease.
If you have any further questions regarding periodontal therapy, Dr. Richard Nejat or Dr. Daniel Nejat will address all of your concerns. You can schedule a personal consultation by calling our offices or by clicking here.
The objective of periodontal therapy is to prevent tooth loss. However, if you have already lost one or more teeth due to gum disease, please see our section on dental implants therapy – a permanent, conservative tooth replacement alternative. To determine whether you might be a New York / Long Island dental implants candidate, please schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of our implant providers.