September is National Gum Care month raising gum health awareness. As new research develops, we see a rise in medical conditions related to infected gums – such as heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications and more – and how preventing gum (periodontal) disease is vital for both your oral and overall health. Ongoing research increasingly supports the idea that inflammation caused by bacteria can affect not only gum tissue and teeth, but also invades the bloodstream and can have a negative effect on other systems in your body.
Healthy Gums vs. Diseased Gums
Healthy gums should be firm and pink with no bleeding and no discomfort. Signs of diseased gums include loose or shifting teeth, chronic bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, bleeding gums, redness, swelling, receding gums, and gum tenderness.
Even if you haven’t had a cavity in your life, you are still vulnerable to gum disease. Strong teeth require the support of healthy gum tissue, whether they are your natural teeth or dental implants. Your general dentist is the person who will primarily manage gum disease, through the use of scaling and cleaning of your teeth to remove plaque and calculus buildups. When periodontal disease gets to be more severe, a periodontist (gum specialist) may be enlisted to help. In cases where periodontal disease is so advanced that it requires removal of one or more teeth, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will be involved. In these cases, dental implants are the standard of care to replace these lost teeth.
At Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we have a great deal of experience in placing dental implants to replace missing teeth. In cases where the gum tissue isn’t adequate to create a good seal around the implant, we use the latest techniques and technologies to reconstruct the gum tissue that will surround your dental implants, maintaining them in a healthier state. The healthy gum tissue will keep your teeth looking great while reducing the risk of gum recession and subsequent bone loss.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform this soft tissue grafting by taking your own tissue from the roof of your mouth to be transferred to the area that needs to be augmented. We can graft gum tissue from a cadaver source if needed, which has the added benefit of eliminating the need for a second surgical site.
Periodontal reconstructive surgery could involve a single minor gum contouring procedure or, depending on your needs, multi-staged grafting surgeries. These grafts are done under local anesthesia or IV sedation to ensure maximum comfort levels in our out-patient surgical suite.
For dental implants, our goal is to give your replacement teeth a stable foundation that ultimately appears, feels and operates like natural teeth. The secure implant allows you to eat normally and smile confidently. Because the implants are anchored in the jawbone, providing bone stimulation, you will also maintain your facial contours. Dental implants keep your natural teeth from shifting, maintaining your bite alignment, clear speech, and an aesthetically pleasing smile.
In cases where periodontal disease has caused extensive bone loss, or in cases where long term missing teeth have resulted in bone atrophy, our doctors are able to reconstruct bone to provide a stable foundation for dental implants. This is done in several ways, depending on the clinical requirements.
-Socket preservation graft: Manages the extraction site after one or more teeth are removed.
-Block bone graft: Augments existing jawbone to support a dental implant properly.
-Sinus lift bone grafting technique: Provides bone for implants in the back of the upper jaw.
-Guided bone regeneration: Allows us to grow bone in an area needed to support proper placement of a dental implant.
Please make sure to seek regular dental care in order to maintain good gum health. If you have the need for replacement of missing teeth, please contact our offices at 703-729-8700 for a consultation. The doctors and staff at Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery will be happy to help you restore your function and your smile!