Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. According to the American Dental Association, at least 60% of adults in the United States have moderate-to-severe periodontal disease! In a recent survey, 63% of Americans age 18 and older exhibited some gingival bleeding (bleeding of the gums). Nearly 80% of all employed Americans have some form of attachment loss (gums that are pulling away from the teeth).
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal Disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. More importantly, the infection releases toxins into the bloodstream leading to serious health risks, i.e., stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and spontaneous pre-term births.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting possible links between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases such as diabetes and coronary artery disease.
New scientific research indicates that bacteria may affect the heart. People with periodontal disease, a bacterial infection, may be more at risk for heart disease.
While further research is needed, preliminary findings suggest that people with periodontal disease may be significantly more at risk for fatal heart attacks. More than 20% of Americans have heart disease. Please advise us of any medical conditions, including heart disease. Your periodontal health may affect your overall health. New research indicates that infections in the mouth, such as periodontal disease, may also be associated with increased risk of respiratory infection such as pneumonia and bronchitis. While further research is needed, you are well advised to maintain good periodontal health which is part of your overall health.
Scientists have known for some time that people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease. New research indicates a two-way connection: periodontal disease may make it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar. Additional studies are underway, but findings suggest that controlling periodontal disease may help people control diabetes. New evidence also suggests that pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be up to seven times more likely to have a baby that is born premature and at a low birthweight.
Periodontal disease is an infection, and all infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. We advise all pregnant women — and all women of childbearing age — to come in for a periodontal screening examination. Although the possible links between periodontal disease and premature, low birth weight babies is still not fully understood, we want to do our part to keep mother and baby as healthy as possible.
The bacteria that cause periodontal disease are not confined to the mouth. They are carried throughout the blood stream and have the potential to cause health problems that appear in other parts of the body.
Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions about the potential links between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases.
IS THERE A CURE FOR PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
The good news is that periodontal disease is treatable and preventable. We provide you with professional care in our office and instructions on proper home care. Working closely with your general dentist, we want to help you achieve an optimal level of oral health.
CAN ANYTHING BE DONE ABOUT RECEDING GUMS OR "LONG" TEETH?
We are concerned foremost with your health. However, some of the procedures we perform are intended not only to control disease, but to provide you with a cosmetic benefit. Some patients may look older than their years because their teeth appear to be too long (“long in the tooth”). Soft tissue grafts and other root coverage procedures are designed to cover exposed roots and make the teeth look much better.
When gum tissue recedes due to periodontal disease, it pulls away from the teeth. Periodontal plastic surgery procedures can restore some coverage and dramatically improve a person’s smile.
Soft tissue grafts and other root coverage procedures cover exposed roots and restore healthy gum tissue. This will reduce further bone loss and recession, make the tooth less sensitive, protect the root from root cavities, and look more natural when you smile.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jaw to replace one, or multiple missing teeth. Implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or often times are use to replace all missing teeth. Dental implants are used to replace teeth lost from tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease or trauma. Dental implants can last a lifetime. Even though dental implants cannot get decay like natural teeth, they require proper care and cleaning to achieve this kind of longevity. More than nine out of ten implants last longer than 15 years.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal Disease is rarely painful, especially in the early stages. Some of the common signs of Periodontal Disease are:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss (healthy gums will not bleed)
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth (receded)
- Pus (infection) between the teeth and gums
- Loose permanent teeth or separating (drifting) teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Change in the fit of a partial denture
No doubt, you’ve heard some of the terms: Plaque, Tartar, Calculus, Gingivitis, Periodontitis, Pyorrhea, Periodontal (Gum) Disease. But what does it all mean? Quite simply, Periodontal Disease starts when plaque and tartar (calculus) are allowed to accumulate at the base of your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque leads to an infection in the gums (gingiva) called Gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early state of periodontal disease where the gums may become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Left untreated, the infection spreads to the tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place, a condition called Periodontitis (Pyorrhea). Because of the bacterial infection associated with Periodontitis, tooth abscesses are also common.
WHY ARE IMPLANTS SO POPULAR AND THE FIRST CHOICE FOR AND BY PATIENTS?
A dental implant, in the simplest of terms, is a replacement for the root of your tooth. There is never anything like the ‘original’, and an implant-supported tooth comes as close as possible to your own tooth. By placing an implant in your mouth, your bone thinks the tooth is still there and will continue to grow and maintain a strong and healthy foundation. Bone loss can lead to a variety of complications or a requirement for more extensive care for many patients, instead of simple maintenance visits with your dentist and hygienist.
WHAT IS BONE GRAFTING?
Grafting is a procedure used to replace missing bone or gum tissue. There are two types of gum tissue in the mouth, one of which surrounds the necks of the teeth and is thick and protective in nature. The other of which lines our cheeks and floor of the mouth whose purpose is to be elastic and mobile. Bone grafting is the replacement or augmentation of the bone around the teeth. To improve the beauty of your teeth, to get your teeth and gums easier to keep healthy, gum grafting is a simple, predictable option. Bone grafting reverses the bone loss / destruction caused after teeth have been removed, by periodontal disease, trauma, or ill fitting removable dentures. It is also used to permit implant placement, where teeth have been lost and to enhance the fit and comfort of removable prostheses, or to enhance esthetics of a missing tooth site in the smile zone. When one loses a tooth, as in an extraction, the surrounding bone collapses. To preserve this bone for future implant placement or for esthetics, a bone graft is used. Dr. Horowitz has conducted extensive research on these topics and has published and lectured extensively on various treatment methods. He and his staff will thoroughly explain the bone or gum grafting treatment to you.
Please contact us.
Robert A. Horowitz, DDS
Periodontics | Laser Therapy | Dental Implants
2 Overhill Rd, Suite 270
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Monday, 8 AM-6 PM
Tuesday, 8 AM-6 PM
Wednesday, 8 AM-1 PM
Thursday, 8 AM-5 PM