Restore and preserve oral health with advanced, quality periodontics treatment in Greenwood SC
Christopher T. Griffin, D.M.D. Family and General Dentistry is pleased to offer comprehensive, quality care. Dr. Griffin and his team have a high degree of proficiency and extensive experience in specialized areas of dentistry, including periodontics. Should you or a loved one suffer from conditions such as gum disease in and around Greenwood, periodontics treatment is available nearby to restore and preserve your oral health in a comfortable and efficient manner.
Get to know periodontics
A branch of dentistry and among nine specialties formally recognized by the American Dental Association, periodontics gets its name from “periodontium.” This term refers to “around the tooth.” Periodontics focuses on the health of the surrounding soft and hard tissues that support your teeth. These structures include:
- Gingiva or gums
- Cementum or the outside layer of tooth roots
- Periodontal ligaments or connective tissue fibers
- Alveolar bone in the jaws that anchor teeth
Since the periodontium accounts for so many structures vital to the integrity and health of your teeth, a number of preventative services, diagnostics, and treatments fall under the periodontics banner.
Threats to periodontal health
Inflammation and infection of the soft tissues surrounding your teeth affects around half of American adults aged 30 and older. Gum disease is a progressive condition that starts as irritation or gingivitis. The condition may not cause noticeable symptoms early on. If symptoms are recognized, they’re commonly limited to blood on toothbrushes or floss, or tenderness when brushing or flossing. Inflamed gums may look puffier or darker than usual, or have white spots and patches.
Healthy gums are generally firm and pink, and snugly hug the teeth. Food debris and sugars in drinks that aren’t removed properly cause gums to become irritated. Starches and sugars combine with naturally-occurring bacteria to form a sticky plaque film. After around three or four days, plaque hardens to become tartar or calculus under the gumline. The longer tartar stays put, the more it irritates the gingiva at the base of your teeth.
Untreated gingivitis progresses to advanced gum disease or periodontitis, a leading cause of irreversible bone and tooth loss. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis patients likely know they have a problem. Pockets or spaces arise between teeth and gums. These spaces behave like reservoirs that collect and store plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Furthermore, a great deal of research through the decades implicates bacteria responsible for periodontitis in the development of other serious medical conditions, including heart disease and respiratory infections. Bacteria doesn’t remain in your mouth; it can enter your bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body or produce a potentially dangerous systemic infection.
Likewise, the periodontal ligaments that absorb the shock of chewing and hold teeth in place can be damaged by chronic periodontitis. Ligaments may also become inflamed due to habits like tooth-grinding and -clenching that places a significant amount of pressure on these sensitive tissue fibers.
Sac-like alveolar bone deteriorate when teeth are extracted or otherwise lost. This bone that supports your teeth requires stimulation to maintain its density and shape. It gets that stimulation from chewing, biting, and other functions. It’s estimated 25% of bone width is lost after a year without a tooth, while bone height shrinks by 4 mm within a couple of years of tooth loss.
Treatments to restore periodontal health
Dr. Griffin can stop gingivitis and even reverse its effects with:
- Professional cleanings to remove stubborn, hardened plaque.
- Modifications to brushing and flossing techniques, and diet.
- Replacement or adjustments to worn or poorly-fitting dental restorations.
- Scaling to remove bacteria from teeth and under gum tissue.
- Root planing to smooth the teeth roots and stop bacterial build-up.
Nonsurgical treatments may be appropriate for modest cases of periodontitis. Advanced periodontitis or cases when gums don’t respond to nonsurgical techniques (such as home care and lifestyle modifications) may require surgery, such as pocket reduction to remove bacteria and close the spaces between soft tissues and teeth that give rise to disease.
The loss of alveolar bone may be prevented or stopped with dental implant-supported crowns and dentures. Dental implants allow for replacement teeth to be designed like healthy, natural teeth. For more information on implants or other options to resolve periodontal concerns, call the office of Dr. Christopher Griffin at (864) 229-2610.Back to Periodontics Page