Periodontal treatment concerns itself with managing and curing infections within the mouth among other things. This is true regardless of whether you have a mouth full of beautiful natural teeth or whether you have implants. Both are susceptible to infection and both need to be looked after to get the very best out of them.
Dental implants are designed to be permanent replacements for natural teeth. They are structured as much as possible to look, feel and act like real teeth. They need healthy gums and good bone structure to work well. Both of which can be compromised by periodontal disease.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease or periodontitis are actually a collection of conditions that can affect the mouth. ‘perio’ means around and ‘dontal’ means teeth, so periodontal diseases are conditions that affect the area around the teeth in one way or another. The same is true for dental implants or natural teeth as infection can occur around either.
For example, gingivitis is an early stage type of periodontal disease. Left untreated, gingivitis can escalate into periodontitis.
Research into periodontal disease is still ongoing and we still don’t know everything about it. What we do know is that the condition is caused by bacteria in the mouth. Some of this bacteria resides in dental plaque which is why your dentist is so enthusiastic about avoiding plaque buildup wherever possible.
Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect the mouth. It has also been linked to heart disease, Atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease. Doctors know that bacteria in the mouth can influence these conditions but we still don’t know why, not completely anyway.
Periodontal treatment comes in two forms, surgical and non-surgical. Caught in time, treatment can be as simple as a better oral health regimen or medication. More serious cases may require more serious treatments. Doing nothing is unfortunately not an option.
Periodontal treatments can include:
Scaling and root planning – A deep clean of the teeth that removes dental plaque and bacteria. This is the default treatment for periodontal disease.
Medication – Sometimes medication follows scaling and root planning to ensure all remnants of periodontal disease and the bacteria that causes it are eliminated. This could be a special mouth rinse, gel, microspheres or tablets.
Flap surgery – This is a surgical procedure that treats the inflammation within deep pockets in the gum. It is a straightforward procedure that removes plaque and bacteria from under the gums.
Bone and tissue graft – This is a surgical procedure where a periodontist will graft bone or tissue into places within the mouth to encourage new growth.
Dental implants are designed to mimic real teeth so are subject to the same oral health requirements as normal teeth. Keep them clean, visit your dentist regularly and they should last a lifetime!