Patient Info

Caring for your gums

Dental patient info - Putney Peridontics

On a daily basis, our mouths are consistently harbouring bacteria. These bacteria form onto the surfaces of teeth and gums, and forms a sticky, furry layer. Brushing and flossing daily can remove plaque. However, once the bacteria remains on our teeth for a long time, bad bacteria begins to release toxins which cause the inflammation of the gums, known as Gingivitis.

Fortunately, Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease which is completely reversible with daily cleaning. A professional clean can help reduce bacteria further in areas which are inaccessible to home hygiene. This form of gum disease does not result in any loss of gum or bone tissue.

For additional patient info on gingivitis, pick up the phone and dial (02) 9809 6888. You may also want to read up on how we handle conservative management of gum disease.

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An example of gingivitis causing redness and inflamed appearance at the margin of the gums

Although most people brush regularly, bacteria may remain sheltered from the toothbrush. This may commonly occur at hard to reach areas such as the molars and the spaces in between each tooth .

Over time, the plaque that is not removed mineralises and hardens into what is known as ‘Tartar’. The bacterial deposits in its hardened form becomes more toxic and then causes irreversible damage to the gums and surrounding bone. If left untreated, teeth may eventually loosen and may require removal by this stage. Only professional cleaning from the dentist will remove tartar.

Symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Gum abscess
  • Loose tooth/teeth
  • Food constantly caught between teeth
  • Usually painless until it becomes advanced

However, not every person is equally susceptible to gum disease. Smoking, stress, family inheritance, diabetes, nutrition, genetic conditions and certain medications may cause increased need for gum disease treatment in an individual. Feel free to call us today at (02) 9809 6888 for complete patient info on this condition.

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Periodontitis affecting the upper front teeth causing loss of gum and bone support. The gum tissue is also red and enlarged.

Prevent gum disease from developing or worse, progressing, by knowing what exactly causes it. About one-quarter of Australians have moderate to severe gum disease. Gum diseases are caused by oral bacteria. For many decades now, it has been known that oral bacteria can enter the body. It is widely accepted in the field of medicine that bleeding gums allow oral bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. If we don’t look after our gums, the bacteria can breed deep within our gum pockets. Not only will the quantity of bacteria increase, but more toxic bacterial species begin to grow. When gum disease ensues, it is biologically plausible that symptoms of increased bleeding will allow bacteria to enter the body via the bloodstream. These bacteria have now been linked with various diseases around the body:

  • Kidney Disease: Those already with systemic conditions such as kidney problems combined with gum disease had higher rate of complications such as pneumonia.
    Heart Disease: Bacteria from the mouth have been found in atherosclerotic plaques (‘blocked arteries’) and therefore are implicated as a cause of heart disease.
  • Brain Disease: Brain tissue samples from those with Alzheimer’s disease showed infection from oral bacteria.
  • Diabetes: Research from Japan and USA seem to indicate that people with poor gum health have a greater chance of developing diabetes.
  • Pregnancy: Increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Oral bacteria have been found to reach the placental tissues. An inflammatory reaction caused by the bacteria may induce labour.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: In gum disease, certain proteins in the body are detected which are also found in patients with Rheumatoid arthritis. The evidence suggests that both disease may feed off one another, making each condition worse.

On this patient info section, we highlight the evidence for these conditions which is limited. Many of these conditions have multiple causesmaking the role of any one culprit difficult to determine. Furthermore, there is also the role of genetics. It has been proven that people exposed to the same risk factors (such as smoking) will not necessarily suffer the same consequences. This is why it is hard to have firm conclusions. Nevertheless, what is agreed upon is that treating gum conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis at an early stage as the most beneficial course of action.

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Hajishengallis, George. “Periodontitis: from microbial immune subversion to systemic inflammation.” Nature Reviews Immunology 15.1 (2015): 30-44.

A dental implant is a treatment to replace a missing tooth. Manufactured from titanium, the implant mimics a natural tooth root

The first step involves the insertion of the toothimplant into the jaw bone. A biological process then occurs around this implant, allowing the fusion of the bone onto the implant surface. Following this process, the implant then behaves as a stable foundation which will support a crown.

Dr. Jeremy Vo is a trained specialist in the placement of dental implants with an emphasis on maximising healing following surgical procedures.

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Fig 1. Dental implant supporting a crown

Dental Implants Versus Real Teeth

Want to know the difference between dental implants and real teeth? Turn to Putney Periodontics for an explanation. What we can tell you is that in the majority of situations teeth will last longer than implants. When teeth are healthy and well looked after, the best long term benefit will be to keep your own natural teeth for as long as possible. However,  when a tooth is lost, replacement with a dental implant can help avoid certain negative consequences including:

  • Teeth either side of the space and tilt and drift
  • Affecting appearance, especially when missing teeth are visible
  • Self-esteem
  • Reduced chewing ability

Dr Jeremy Vo will help make a practical assessment with you on whether uncertain teeth will be worth keeping and whether it will require a replacement.

Replacing teeth with dental implants has several advantages including:

  • High success rates.
  • With careful planning, a dental implant will look and feel just like your natural tooth.
  • Compared with Dentures, you will be able to chew more efficiently and speak more clearly with dental implants.
  • Compared with a Dental Bridge, implants don’t negatively impact on the neighboring teeth. Bridges are anchored to neighboring teeth to keep them in place. However, these healthy teeth must first be ground down in size.

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Fig 2. Adjacent teeth ground down to make room for a bridge

What happens after a tooth is removed?

The removal of a tooth has lifelong consequences. Over time, the bone under the gum ‘shrinks’ as the body is no longer stimulated by chewing forces to maintain this bone. As a result, in the mouth of a person who has lost multiple teeth over many years, the jaw starts to dip significantly which can make implant treatment in the future more complicated and costly. Furthermore, over a long period of time, the facial structure may also be affected to the point of visible alteration from missing teeth.

Before tooth removal, Dr. Jeremy Vo will go over patient info with you and discuss the steps to take in ensuring that your bone structure will be suitable for implants later on.

Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?

It is important that healing occurs normally following the insertion of a dental implant. This process can be influenced by :

  • Certain medical conditions such as diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Presence of existing dental infections
  • Bleeding gums

During the consultation, Dr Jeremy Vo will take a history of your dental status, medical status and functional requirements. This will allow a detailed discussion with you in order to determine whether a dental implant is a valid option for you.

What do Dental Implants look like?

See below for an example of a case completed by Putney Periodontics Dr. Jeremy Vo. This patient broke her front tooth from a young age. She was extremely happy when she was finally able to go on with her life without having to wear her partial upper denture.

 

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Does implant surgery hurt?

Putney Periodontics Dr. Jeremy Vo routinely performs dental implant treatments simply in the dental chair. In order to perform the surgical procedure safely and precisely, specialised equipments and sterile working surfaces are set up. The only anaesthetic required is local anaesthetic, which means you do not need to be put to sleep for the procedure. Once the area is numbed up, you will no longer feel any discomfort. You will be able to resume normal activities fairly soon after, and depending on the nature of your work, you will still be able to work the next day. However, taking a few days off may be highly recommended when it comes to more complex dental surgeries.

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