YOUR GUIDE TO PERIODONTAL TREATMENTS

YOUR GUIDE TO PERIODONTAL TREATMENTS

Not many people know what gingivitis or periodontal disease is, yet according to the Canadian Dental Association, nearly 70 percent of Canadians will develop some form of gum disease over the course of their lives. While this figure might come across as alarming at first, it makes sense when you consider the causes of gum disease and the fact that it can go unnoticed for quite some time until you develop painful symptoms. That being said, here is a brief rundown of periodontics and the procedures involved.

WHAT IS PERIODONTICS?

Essentially, periodontics is a branch of dentistry that involves the treatment of the oral structures that surround and support the teeth. These include the jawbone, the gums, and surrounding oral tissue, which can be harmed by the persistent plaque buildup that causes gingivitis and gum disease. In order to combat this, periodontists are able to perform a number of treatments and procedures such as root planing or lasering away the bacteria, as well as gum grafting, crown lengthening, or performing gingivectomies. But don’t panic — these procedures aren’t nearly as scary as they sound.

ROOT PLANING & LASERS

Root planing is the term periodontists use to describe the process of gently removing tartar, or hardened plaque, from along and underneath the gumline with a dental scaler. Often, this painless procedure is done as part of your general dentistry checkups. However, patients who are experiencing mild gum disease, or gingivitis, may have this done to help clear the area of bacteria that caused the gum infection so the receding gums can naturally reattach themselves to the teeth.

Recent advancements in the field of dentistry have also made it possible for periodontists to precisely kill bacteria along the gum line and remove infected gum tissue so that the gums can reattach to the teeth. While this might sound painful, there is usually no need for local anesthesia, and the procedure doesn’t take long to complete.

GINGIVAL GRAFTS & GINGIVECTOMIES

Once a patient’s gum disease has worsened past the mild stage of gingivitis, surgical periodontal treatments may be required with the application of local anesthesia. One of these procedures is gingival grafting, or gum grafting, during which your periodontist will gently graft a small bit of tissue from another area (usually the roof of your mouth), then add it to the receding or diseased gums for support.

Gingivectomies, on the other hand, involves the lasering away of infected gum tissue from the deep pockets of bacteria that develop under the gumline in patients with periodontal disease. This surgical periodontal procedure is only performed in patients with severe gum disease that has attacked and deteriorated the gums, causing them to recede significantly.

CROWN LENGTHENING

Finally, your periodontist may perform a crown lengthening procedure for patients who do not have much natural tooth surface for a dental crown or cavity filling to attach to — as is often the case for those with deteriorated teeth from periodontal disease. During this periodontal procedure, we simply laser away extra gum tissue so that the following restoration process will be most effective.

Interested in learning more about the field of periodontics? Contact us with any questions you may have, and request an appointment at Trillium Dental in Ottawa today!

WHAT DOES A PERIODONTIST DO? PART 2

WHAT DOES A PERIODONTIST DO? PART 2

In part one of this blog series, we defined periodontal disease and some of the gum treatments our periodontists provide for patients with gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease. These include a preventative method called root planing, where we gently remove tartar from the gum line with a small metal tool called a dental scaler, and laser gum treatments, which involve the removal of bacteria and infected gum tissue without the need for local anesthesia. Both of these periodontal treatments have the potential to reverse minor gum damage by allowing the gums to naturally reattach to the freshly cleaned and disinfected teeth.

At Trillium Dental in Ottawa, we also offer other kinds of periodontal treatments that pertain to those with moderate- and late-stage gum disease, or periodontitis. When the gums have receded to the point where the roots of your teeth start showing and deep pockets of bacteria begin to form, professional periodontal attention is required to alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage to your gums, teeth, and jawbone.

PERIODONTAL TREATMENTS FOR GUM DISEASE

Once gingivitis has worsened to the point of periodontitis, the patient may be eligible for surgical gum treatments. Given that the roots of your teeth are not meant to be exposed, they might become very sensitive when your gums weaken and recede due to the infection. Fortunately, we have many gum treatment options available for these patients, including:

  • Gingival grafts: A surgical procedure where oral tissue is taken from the cheek, the roof of the mouth, or another donor area, and added, or “grafted,” to the patient’s receding gums. This procedure aims to patch gum areas that have weakened and receded to the point of no return, where they expose the sensitive roots of the teeth. It requires the use of local anesthesia, takes anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, and has proven to be an effective way of regaining gum strength due to the fact that the body is far less likely to reject its own tissue post-surgery.
  • Gingivectomy: A form of oral laser surgery that rids the gums of underlying bacteria in the “pockets” that were created as a result of gum recession, as well as all the infected gum tissue. When these pockets become filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, the teeth and supporting jaw structure are at jeopardy of deteriorating, which is why it’s so important to have them cleaned out and removed. Like gingival grafts, local anesthesia is also applied during gingivectomies for the comfort of our patients.
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In the event that a patient’s periodontal disease has advanced to the point of tooth loss and jawbone deterioration, among other painful and even life-threatening oral health conditions, other periodontal treatments may be required that don’t deal specifically with the gums. If you are experiencing any of these things, visit our dental clinic today and we may suggest one of the following surgical procedures:

  • Crown lengthening: The surgical process of using a soft-tissue laser to trim extra gum tissue from around the missing or deteriorated teeth in order to increase the potential for restoration. Our periodontists perform this procedure when a patient’s tooth has degraded or broken to the point where it cannot host a necessary cavity filling or dental crown. Many people who suffer from gum disease require a crown lengthening procedure in order for their periodontist to provide these fillings and crowns, which help protect diseased teeth from further decay.
  • Smile-In-A-Day: A surgical alternative to dentures where a periodontist removes loose, decayed teeth and replaces them with a temporary, hybrid denture that is secured to the underlying bone structure with dental implants. This stimulates the jawbone in a less invasive way, allowing natural bone regrowth and strengthening without the need for invasive bone grafts. Not only does the Smile-In-A-Day dental implant procedure fill in missing teeth, replace decayed teeth, and assist with jawbone regrowth, but it is also performed much quicker than other implant procedures, leaving our patients with a perfect smile when they leave our dental office the very same day.

Strong teeth and a sturdy, stimulated jawbone are critical for basic daily oral functions, like speaking, chewing, and drinking fluids. Smile-In-A-Day is one of the most effective tooth replacement options to date, as it closely mimics the support and stability of natural, healthy teeth. Plus, they look very similar to real teeth, making them an attractive option for people who want to feel confident in their smile while also regaining their strength.

CHOOSE TRILLIUM DENTAL FOR A PERIODONTAL TREATMENT

When it comes to pursuing a periodontal treatment for gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth loss, or jawbone decay, choose our friendly and experienced periodontists at Trillium Dental in Ottawa. As your local family dentistry provider, it is our mission to ensure that each of our patients has access to exceptional periodontal treatments that will help them heal and improve their overall quality of life. Request an appointment through our website or give us a call today!

WHAT DOES A PERIODONTIST DO? PART 1

WHAT DOES A PERIODONTIST DO? PART 1

Here at Trillium Dental in Ottawa, patients often ask our periodontists what they do and how their services can help those with periodontal disease. As it turns out, not many people know the main differences between periodontistry, orthodontics, and general dentistry, which are all very different and equally important jobs in the field of oral health care. Not all dental offices in Canada offer periodontal treatments, however, and we are proud to have a team of highly knowledgeable and experienced periodontists on our staff.

As your local family dentist, it is our job to provide each and every one of our patients with exceptional dental services — including those that involve periodontics. Our periodontic dental services are aimed at preventing periodontal disease in healthy patients, reversing gingivitis before it advances, and treating those with moderate- to late-stage gum disease. In most cases, these periodontal treatments deal directly with the gums, as this is where periodontal disease begins.

WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?

In order to understand what a periodontist does, it’s important to know what periodontal disease is. In a broad sense, periodontal disease refers to any infection of the gum tissue, which can range from tartar buildup and gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease, to periodontitis.

Gum disease attacks the gum tissue, teeth, and surrounding bone structure, causing it to deteriorate over time. Not only that, but oral tissue is also full of blood vessels, which can spread the disease to other parts of the body via the bloodstream when infected gums start to bleed. This puts you at a far greater risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and several kinds of cancer, including oral and pancreatic.

The good news, however, is that depending on the severity of your condition and the quality of treatment you are receiving, early-stage periodontal disease can be reversed with periodontal treatments. As with any other health condition, preventative measures and early detection are key to mitigating damage before it is too late.

PERIODONTAL TREATMENTS FOR GINGIVITIS

Gingivitis develops as a result of plaque building up and turning into tartar, a calcified form of bacteria that eats away at the teeth and gums if it is not removed at least twice per year with a professional dental cleaning. Those with gingivitis will notice their gums becoming tender and prone to bleeding, as well as separating from the teeth. If you are experiencing these symptoms and think you could be developing gingivitis, we highly recommend that you visit our dental clinic as soon as possible so we can perform gum treatments to get rid of the infection before it becomes more serious.

For patients who are experiencing the discomforting symptoms of early-stage gum disease, our periodontists can perform the following periodontal treatments:

  • Root Planing: A non-surgical gum treatment where bacteria and tartar buildup are removed from the gumline using a small tool called a dental scaler. This method is extremely effective at removing destructive, invisible bacteria from the “pockets” that form under the gums as they separate from the teeth, encouraging them to naturally reattach to the smooth, clean surface. Root planing is also performed during routine teeth cleanings as a preventative measure, which is part of the reason why it’s so important to prioritize general dentistry and visit your dentist at least twice per year.
  • Lasers: A gum treatment that involves the killing and removal of bacteria and infected gum tissue with precise lasers. Like root planing, laser gum treatments encourage the gums to reattach to the teeth, which are smooth and free of bacteria. This method is less preventative than root planing due to the fact that it targets existing infected areas, but it does help reverse damage and reduce the need for major periodontal surgery later on. It also does not require the use of sedation or local anesthesia, making it a more pleasant experience than many other gum treatments.

VISIT TRILLIUM DENTAL FOR A GUM TREATMENT

Our periodontists at Trillium Dental in Ottawa perform a wide range of gum treatments depending on the severity of their patients’ gum disease, from the non-surgical methods we mentioned in this post to the surgical periodontal treatments we will discuss in part two of this blog series. Stay tuned for more information about what our periodontists do, and request an appointment with us today if you are noticing symptoms of gingivitis.

Family dentistry is our passion, so you can rest assured knowing that the oral health of you and your loved ones is our highest priority. We are here to provide you with the dental care you deserve, from filling cavities and straightening teeth with Invisalign® technology to performing both surgical and non-surgical periodontal treatments. We’ve got you covered, no matter what oral health issue you may be experiencing. Give us a call today to see how our periodontists can help you!

SCREEN FOR ORAL CANCER AS PART OF YOUR ORAL HYGIENE ROUTINE

KANATA AND OTTAWA, ONTARIO – There are many different types of cancer, and the Canadian Cancer Society reports 29 percent of all Canadian deaths in 2009 were due to cancer.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and in an effort to raise awareness about this disease our Ottawa family dentistry team encourages you to pay attention to any changes in your mouth, gums, lips and cheeks.

Our team provides general, restorative and cosmetic dentistry in Kanata. We can help restore missing teeth with dental implants, we thoroughly clean your teeth and gums at every regular appointment and we carefully screen each patient for oral cancer.

According to the Canadian Dental Association, in 2003 about 3,100 Canadians were diagnosed with oral cancer and the disease claimed 1,090 Canadian lives. The five-year survival rate for oral cancer is 63 percent, according to Health Canada. This means that 63 percent of patients diagnosed with oral cancer are still alive five years after their diagnosis. We don’t want you to be next. You are an important part of your oral health, and keeping a close watch over your lips, gums, teeth, cheeks and tongue may even save your life.

Learn the Most Common Oral Cancer Symptoms

If you know the common symptoms of oral cancer you can better protect yourself. When you go through your daily oral hygiene routine, check for the following warning signs: Use your finger to trace your lips, gums and cheeks to check for any swelled lumps. Sores are often signs that something is wrong in your mouth, especially those that last longer than two weeks. Note the color of the sores as well; are they white, red or a combination of the two colors?

You may also notice ear pain, numbness, tenderness in your face or mouth, frequent oral bleeding, a prolonged sore throat, trouble chewing or swallowing food, changes in the way foods taste, trouble talking or moving your jaw or even extreme weight loss. Has your bite changed? Do you notice a difference in the way your teeth fit together? All of these symptoms could be warning signs of oral cancer. Bring any of these symptoms up to your dentist at your next appointment.

Identify Your Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Tobacco use greatly increases your risk of developing oral cancer. If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, consider how much healthier you’ll be if you quit. Quitting tobacco will improve your dental health, your skin, your heart health, your lungs and your circulation. You are also approximately six times more likely to develop oral cancer if you drink alcohol to excess.

Too much sun can increase your chances of developing oral cancer. Protect your lips with an SPF fortified lip balm or by wearing a hat that blocks sunlight from your face. If you’ve had oral cancer in the past, or if someone in your family has had oral cancer, you have a higher risk of developing the disease. The presence of HPV has also been linked to increased oral cancer risk.

You can develop oral cancer at any age, though your risk increases dramatically after you hit 45. Your diet may also contribute to developing oral cancer, so be sure to eat a diet full of vegetables and fruits to help prevent cancerous cell growth. Men also get oral cancer more frequently than women.

Understand Prevention and the Importance of Routine Dental Care

There are ways for you to thwart the onset of oral cancer. Limit your consumption of alcohol and protect your face and lips in sunlight. Quit tobacco and eat a balanced diet. Learn the common symptoms of oral cancer and be aware of any changes to your oral health.

You have a better chance of surviving oral cancer the earlier you receive a diagnosis. Dentists are often very important in diagnosing oral cancers in patients, which is one reason why routine dental care is so essential to your total body health. You should visit the dentist at least twice a year to make sure he has adequate time to diagnose oral cancer. If you are at higher risk, your Ottawa dentist may want to see you more often than twice a year. Regular screenings ensure that we catch any cancer faster, which gives you more time for treatment and increases your chances of survival.

THE SIGNS, SYMPTOMS AND RISK FACTORS OF ORAL CANCER

THE SIGNS, SYMPTOMS AND RISK FACTORS OF ORAL CANCER

OTTAWA, ONTARIO– According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, around 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often discovered late in its development. Trillium dental, a family practice, is able to detect oral cancer during routine dental examinations.

Mouth cancer occurs when cells in the mouth or lips form mutations in the DNA, allowing cancer cells to grow, divide and possibly form a tumor. Mouth cancers usually begin to form in the flat, thin cells that line the lips and the inside of the mouth. However, cancer cells may also spread to other areas of the mouth, head, neck, or other parts of the body.

Signs and Symptoms

Oftentimes people mistake the symptoms of oral cancer for another ailment. It is important to analyze these precursors and be certain of all conditions. Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include:

  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • A lump or thickening of the skin or lining of the mouth
  • A white or reddish patch on the inside of the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Difficult or painful chewing
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • A sore throat
  • The feeling like something is caught in the throat

Increased Risk

People who smoke and drink alcohol are more at risk of developing oral cancers. Approximately 70% of patients with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Factors that can increase your risk of mouth cancer include:

  • Tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Excessive sun exposure to your lips
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Mouthwash
  • Low intake of fruits and vegetables with beta-carotene
  • Low intake of Vitamin C and fiber

Testing and Diagnosis

Tests and procedures used to diagnose mouth cancer can be done to detect early symptoms. Our dentists will examine your lips and mouth to look for abnormalities, sores and white patches. If any abnormalities are found, a sample of cells is cut or scraped off for laboratory testing in a biopsy. The cells are analyzed for cancer or precancerous variations, indicating a risk of future cancer.

If mouth cancer is diagnosed, doctors then determine the stage of the cancer. They can do this by using a lighted scope to inspect the throat and look for signs that the cancer has spread beyond the mouth in an endoscopy. Depending on the condition, doctors may also take X-rays, an MRI, CT scans, or a PET scan.

Perform a Self-Exam Monthly

To be precautious perform an oral cancer self-exam using a mirror and a light.

  • Remove any dentures
  • Look and feel inside the lips and the front of gums
  • Tilt head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  • Pull the cheek out to see its inside surface as well as the back of the gums
  • Pull out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces
  • Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes on both sides of the neck

Perform self-examinations and inspect the mouth for the following:

  • Red and/or white patches
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • An abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • A mass or lump in the neck

If you exhibit the signs or symptoms, contact Trillium Dental today to get screened and referred to a specialist. Treatment for mouth cancer depends on the cancer location and stage, as well as the overall health and personal preferences of the individual.

Treatment for Oral Cancer

Radiation therapy uses powerful rays to kill cancer cells. External beam radiation therapy is delivered from a machine outside of the body. Brachytherapy uses radioactive seeds and wires, which are placed near the cancer. Radiation therapy may be the only treatment used in cases of early-stage mouth cancer. Radiation therapy can also be used after surgery or combined with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may help relieve the symptoms brought on by the cancer, such as pain.

Side effects of radiation therapy to your mouth may include dry mouth, tooth decay, mouth sores, bleeding gums, jaw stiffness, fatigue and red skin reactions.

Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy, so the two are often combined.

Side effects of chemotherapy depend on which drugs you receive. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting and hair loss.

If a tumor is present, doctors may perform surgery to remove it. The surgeon cuts away the tumor and some of the healthy adjoining tissue. Smaller cancers may be removed through a more minor surgery. Removing a large tumor may require removing a section of the jawbone or a portion of the tongue. If cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in the neck, then the surgeon may perform a neck dissection, removing the cancerous lymph nodes and related tissue in the neck.

As always, surgery carries a risk of bleeding and infection. Surgery for mouth cancer can also affect a person’s appearance and their ability to speak, eat and swallow. There are specialists to help people with these changes.

Targeted drugs treat mouth cancer by altering specific aspects of cancer cells that fuel their growth. Targeted drugs can be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Cetuximab is a targeted therapy used for treating certain head and neck cancers. Other targeted drugs are being studied in clinical trials.

Regular check-ups and awareness help reduce the risk oral cancer. Oral cancer is the largest group of cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, this is the fifth year in a row that there has been an increase in the rate of oral cancers. Schedule your screening today.

THE TOP 10 REASONS TO TREAT GUM DISEASE

STITTSVILLE AND OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The Stittsville dentistry team at Trillium Dental knows how important it is to treat signs of gum disease early. Gum disease is detrimental to your tooth and gum health, and it can cost you permanent teeth if left untreated. At every regular teeth cleaning, our Stittsville and Ottawa dental teams screen patients for gum disease. In its early stages, it can be eradicated.

Here are the top 10 reasons to treat gum disease:

1. To Avoid Tooth Loss

Gum disease is the main cause of adult tooth loss. Tooth loss is harmful to your bite, your bone health and your self-esteem. If you treat gum disease early enough, you can thwart tooth loss and protect your smile.

2. To Avoid Gum Recession

Gum disease often causes your gums to pull away from your teeth. The recession forms pockets where bacteria gathers and grows. Treat gum disease and keep your gums healthy, strong and prominent.

3. To Reduce Hospital Visits

Gum disease, especially in advanced stages, can cause severe pain, which may lead you to visit the emergency room more often. Studies show that treating gum disease lowers your ER visits and medical costs.

4. To Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Gum disease has been linked to respiratory disease, diabetes and even some types of cancer. It has also been heavily linked to heart disease. Untreated gum disease can heighten your risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.

5. To Avoid Bone Deterioration

Severe gum disease causes tooth loss, and tooth loss causes the jawbone to deteriorate. The bone will weaken when the tooth it supports is lost. The deterioration can spread out and weaken other parts of your jaw.

6. To Preserve Your Bite

Losing one or more teeth to gum disease can be avoided. When you lose a tooth, your bite changes. Your teeth may fit together differently, and you may have trouble chewing food. You could even experience migraines or TMJ problems from a destabilized bite.

7. To Keep Your Gums Healthy

Your gums are the foundation of your smile. Healthy teeth come from healthy gums, and strong gums will hold your teeth firmly in place. Healthy gums don’t bleed, don’t recede and don’t cause you pain.

8. To Control the Infection

Gum disease is simply an infection. Bacteria and plaque have caused gum recession and maybe even tooth loss. The infection, if left untreated, could even spread to your bloodstream. You should treat gum disease to control and remove the infection from your body.

9. To Avoid Loosened Teeth

Before a tooth is lost completely, it will grow loose. A loose permanent tooth will feel much like a loose baby tooth, except this is a tooth you’re supposed to keep forever. Treating gum disease will strengthen your gums and strengthen their bonds with your teeth.

10. To Reduce Associated Pain and Discomfort

Gum disease often causes bleeding, tender gums. You may not brush and floss regularly because of the pain, or you may avoid eating when the pain is intense. Treating gum disease will reduce your pain and restore your gums to their previous good health.