Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry that deals with the supporting structures of your teeth and the diseases that affect them.
The supporting structures for your teeth include gingiva (gums), periodontal attachment and the supporting bone.
Our Periodontist specialises in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) diseases, and the placement and maintenance of dental implants.
We also provide various aesthetic and cosmetic gum procedures, which can beautify your smile.
Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease is a chronic infection that destroys the supporting bone and attachment tissues that hold your teeth in place in your mouth.
The Adult Oral Health Survey 2003 conducted by the Singapore Health Promotion Board showed that 85% of Singaporeans have periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a silent disease and might have set in despite the absence of pain.
When left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to premature tooth loss.
Common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bleeding gums during brushing.
- Red, swollen or tender gums.
- Gum abscesses (gum boils).
- Pus from between the teeth and gums.
- Longer looking teeth (gum recession).
- Persistent bad breath.
- Vague discomfort.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite or chew.
Causes and Risk Factors
The main cause of periodontal disease is dental plaque – the sticky, creamy coloured film that constantly forms on your teeth.
Dental plaque contains millions of bacteria, which produce toxins that irritate the gums and can cause infection.
In more advanced stages, the bone supporting the teeth is lost.
Risk factors that will increase the prevalence of periodontal diseases include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes.
- Hormonal changes (pregnancy).
- Medications such as anti-depressants, anti-convulsions, certain heart medications and medications that prevent organ transplant rejection.
Periodontal (Gum) Treatment
The goal of periodontal treatment is to arrest the progression of the disease and to restore the health of your teeth and gums.
There are several treatment phases and varies accordingly to the severity of your disease.
NON-SURGICAL-PERIODONTAL THERAPY (INITIAL)
Treatment involves scaling (cleaning), root planing (deep cleaning) and polishing to remove plaque, calculus and bacteria from below the gumline.
This may be performed under local anesthesia.
An essential part of the treatment will also include oral hygiene instructions on how to clean your teeth effectively.
Following a complete full mouth treatment, your gum condition will be reviewed in 2 months to assess the outcome of the initial treatment.
RECONSTRUCTIVE THERAPY (SURGICAL)
This may form part of the gum therapy following initial non-surgical periodontal therapy. This is performed in cases where the condition do not improve following non-surgical therapy i.e., there are persistent deep pockets and loss of supporting bone. The surgery aims to reconstruct bone that was lost around the teeth. In otherwise periodontally healthy patients, surgery may be recommended in certain cases.
- Excess gum tissues may be removed to assist in increasing the height of a tooth for crown fabrication, or to harmonise uneven gum line
- In cases where there is gum recession on teeth, exposing tooth structures, gum surgery can also be performed to provide coverage for these defects. Suitability of the above procedures will be determined by the periodontist.
SUPPORTIVE PERIODONTAL THERAPY
Once the disease has been arrested, you will be seen for professional maintenance on a regular basis.
This ensures your gum condition stays under control.
Periodontal disease is a chronic disease, thus in the absence of regular careful maintenance, the disease may recur.
These procedures “grow” the teeth’s supporting structures (bone/attachment), which were lost due to periodontal (gum) diseases.
It serves to improve the support of your natural set of teeth so that they can be retained and stay functional for a longer period of time.
Techniques include the use of membrane and bone grafts or even enamel matrix derivative to promote the re-growth of the part of the bone and supporting tissues.