Gum Treatment and Oral Hygiene
Gum treatment is the treatment of active gum and jaw bone disease. The treatment can slow or stop the progression of the disease. Since there are different stages of gum disease (from gingivitis to advanced periodontitis), there are different levels of treatment. Gum treatment consists of one or more of the following procedures, depending on the individual case:
Prophylaxis (Cleaning) Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and Root Planing is a common non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease. By using special instruments, our hygienists remove bacteria and infection from the unhealthy deep pockets around the teeth below the gum line. This is often referred to as a “deep cleaning”.
First the tooth is scaled to remove the plaque and tarter that has accumulated on the tooth.
Then the root is planed or smoothed. This eliminates any rough areas on the root that can easily trap plaque and bacteria.
A smooth clean root provides a healthy environment to allow the gums to heal naturally and reattach to the tooth. This will create a reduced pocket, therefore eliminating areas for bacteria to hide and cause further disease.
Scaling and Root Planing combined with a strict home care routine and more frequent periodontal cleanings and exams will increase your chances of keeping your natural smile. For further information, you can read our in-depth guide to dental checkups.
Oral Medications For Gum Disease
Chlorhexidine in mouthwash or gel form is a great adjunct to your home oral hygiene regimen and can be applied in various ways. We will advise you of the best formulation to use and how to apply it
A new medication called Doxycycline has been developed specifically to combat periodontal infection by bolstering your body’s immune response to bacteria that cause periodontal disease. We will evaluate your specific case to see if Periostat® is right for you.
Strict Home Care Regimen To Prevent Gum Disease Relapse
A home care routine specific to the patient’s individual needs will be prescribed to prevent the patient from relapsing. This will include instruction in brushing and the use of interdental brushes, dental floss, mouthwashes and other oral hygiene measures.
Related article: Good Oral Hygiene May Prevent Dementia & Alzheimers
Straumann Emdogain is an effective therapy that helps to stabilize teeth and improve the outcome of periodontal (gum) surgery by regenerating the tissue structures that anchor the tooth. Specifically, Emdogain is used as an adjunct to periodontal surgery as a topical application onto exposed root surfaces, and is indicated for the treatment of bone defects due to moderate or severe periodontitis, as well as the surgical treatment of gum recession.
Since its introduction in 1996, Emdogain has been used in more than a million patients worldwide and continues to be a leading product for periodontal regeneration. Scientific evidence shows that Emdogain can increase the predictability of surgical outcomes by achieving equal or better root coverage and attachment.
Other recently published studies have indicated that less post-surgical discomfort is reported with Emdogain
Straumann PrefGel is a gel which is used to remove the smear layer on the tooth surface prior to application of Emdogain, thus enhancing the attachment of the bone matrix proteins in Emdogain to the root surface.
If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (an underbite or overbite), there are a variety of treatments that can help straighten your teeth, including braces and retainers.
The orthodontist will ask you questions about your health, conduct a clinical exam, gather impressions of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order X-rays of your mouth and head. An appropriate treatment plan is made based on analysis of the gathered information.
In some cases, a removable retainer will be all that’s necessary. In other rare cases (especially when there is an extreme overbite or underbite), surgery may be necessary. In most cases, however, braces will be needed.
If braces are indeed the solution for you, your orthodontist will prescribe an appliance specific for your needs. The braces may consist of bands, wires, and other fixed or removable corrective appliances.
Generally, there are three types of braces:
- Brackets: Made of stainless steel or clear or tooth-coloured ceramic or plastic, brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth. Ceramic or plastic brackets are often selected for cosmetic reasons. Plastic brackets, however, may become stained and discoloured by the end of treatment. Another disadvantage of ceramic or plastic brackets is that they cause more friction between the wire and brackets, which can increase treatment time.
- Lingual-type brackets: These are brackets that attach to the back of teeth, hiding the bracket from view.
- Aligners: Invisalign® clear aligners
Newer “mini-braces,” which are much smaller than traditional braces, may be an option for some. Your orthodontist will discuss the various types of available braces with you and determine which might be the best option for you.
How Do Braces Work?
In their entirety, braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bony tooth socket reabsorbs and changes shape as pressure is applied.
Braces are made up of the following components:
- Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to each tooth with a special dental bonding agent or are attached to orthodontic bands. Brackets act like handles, holding the archwires that move the teeth.
- Orthodontic bands are stainless steel, clear or tooth-coloured materials that are cemented with dental bonding agents or cement to teeth. They wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for the brackets. The clear or tooth-coloured bands are more cosmetically appealing options but are more expensive than stainless steel. They are not used in all patients. Some people have only brackets and no bands.
- Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands.
- Arch wires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Arch wires can be made of metal or be clear or tooth-colored.
- Ties are small rubber rings or fine wires that fasten the arch wire to the brackets. They can be clear, metal or colored.
- A buccal tube on the band of the last molar holds the end of the arch wire securely in place.
- Tiny elastic rubber bands, called ligatures, hold the arch wires to the brackets.
- Springs may be placed on the arch wires between brackets to push, pull, open or close the spaces between teeth.
- Two bands on the upper teeth may have headgear tubes on them to hold the facebow of the headgear in place. (A headgear is another tool used by orthodontists to aid in correcting irregularities of the teeth; see below)
- Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and are worn between the upper and lower teeth in various ways. They apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a perfect fit of individual teeth.
How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
The time required for treatment varies from person to person, depending on the severity of the problem; the amount of room available; the distance the teeth must travel; the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone; and how closely the patient follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for 1 to 3 years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first 6 months, then only during sleep for many years.
How Often Will I Need to See the Orthodontist During Treatment?
Your orthodontist will want to see you about every month or so in order to make sure that the braces are exerting steady pressure on your teeth. To create more tension and pressure on your teeth, your orthodontist will make adjustments in the wires, springs, or rubber bands of your braces. In some cases, braces alone aren’t enough to straighten the teeth or shift the jaw. In these situations, an external appliance, such as a headgear may need to be worn at home in the evening or through the night.
Will Braces Cause Pain?
Some of the adjustments your orthodontist may make to your braces may make your mouth feel sore or uncomfortable. When needed, over-the-counter pain relievers like Motrin or Tylenol can help relieve the pain. If you always experience a lot of pain after your braces are adjusted, talk to your orthodontist about it; he or she may be able to make the adjustments a bit differently.
Does the Age at Which I Get Braces Affect the Success of Treatment?
The mechanical process used to move teeth is the same at any age. So the benefits of orthodontic treatments are available to both children and adults who wish to improve their appearance and bite. The main differences between treatments in adults and children is that certain corrections in adults may require more than braces alone and the treatments may take longer because adult bones are no longer growing.
Can I Continue to Play Sports While Wearing Braces?
You can continue to participate in any sport you choose. When playing sports where there is a possibility of getting hit in the mouth, a specially designed mouthguard will need to be worn. The mouthguard, made of durable plastic, is designed to fit comfortably over your braces and will protect the soft tissues inside your mouth
What Care Can I Expect After the Braces Come Off?
After your braces are taken off, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. Your orthodontist may want to take another set of X-rays and bite impressions to check how well the braces straightened your teeth and to see if any wisdom teeth have developed. If wisdom teeth are beginning to come in after your braces have been removed, your orthodontist may recommend the wisdom teeth be pulled to prevent your newly straightened teeth from shifting position in your mouth.
Your orthodontist will also fit you with a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that help teeth to maintain their new position after braces have been removed. Retainers can also be used to treat minor orthodontic problems. The use of a retainer is a very important part of post-braces care. Retainers, which are typically made of rubber or clear plastic and metal wires that cover the outside surface of the teeth, need to be worn all the time for the first 6 months and then usually only during sleep. The time frame for wearing a retainer will vary from patient to patient. The reason why a retainer is needed is that even though braces may have successfully straightened your teeth, they are not completely settled in their new position until the bones, gums, and muscles adapt to the change. Also, after long periods of time, teeth tend to shift.
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