Plaque can accumulate in those gaps and eventually it can get under your gums. At that point, you can start to lose bone and your teeth will begin to fall out. Once those gaps form, they are impossible to clean at home. You will need the help of a dentist.
Periodontitis is quite like when you have termites in your home. The infection digs into your bone and creates a lot of little holes which eventually destabilize and destroy it. As the bacteria expands, more of the bone is rotted away and leaves spaces for further infection.
When the bone that props up your teeth has been damaged or worn away, dentists will usually perform a procedure to repair the damage by promoting regeneration in your bone and gums. Up until recently, dentists used to treat periodontitis by removing the infected sections of the gums and evening out the bone. Now dentists will often use guided tissue regeneration to cause the bone to grow and fill in the formerly infected area, making it good as new.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
GTR re-grows gums that were worn away by bacteria. The dentist will usually begin with a cone beam CT scan to properly evaluate the damage. Depending on how severe the case is, GTR might or might not be an option.
GTR procedures usually involve the inserting of membrane over the affected bone to bolster the teeth and to promote growth. The dentist will use tiny portions of your bone or a synthetic version to kickstart growth and to reclaim the space that was formerly infected. Sometimes the dentist will place an organic wall over the damaged bone to create a space for the bone to grow into. Sometimes,these walls or “barriers” degrade on their own, others do not. Those that are not resorbable will need to be taken out in a second dental procedure once the bone has healed.
GTR begins with the dentist clearing out and then closing up the area so that it can heal. The area will need to be stable and the healing process should be monitored to make sure that blood clots form.
Benefits of Guided Tissue Regeneration
GTR heals periodontal disease. It can repair damage to your gums and your bones. From then on, it is important to maintain a routine dental regimen that includes brushing three times per day and regular dental visits. Periodontal disease is often an indicator or result of diabetes and cardiovascular issues, so you really want to get rid of it to keep yourself healthy.
Recovery From GTR
Once the procedure is over, you will need to do a few things to make sure that you heal and recover properly:
- Medications: If you are prescribed medicine, you should start taking it right away. Antibiotics will help you to prevent an upset stomach.
- Aspirin: You should take aspirin three times per day for the first two days after the surgery. After that, take it as needed. Remember that most over-the-counter medications are not meant to be taken for more than a week.
- Ice pack: For the first six hours after your surgery, you should apply an ice pack to your face twice an hour for ten minutes each time.
- Sleep on an Incline: You will need to sleep with your head elevated so that your head is above your heart.This will reduce swelling and will make recovery less painful.
- Dental Hygiene: Do not brush your teeth for seven days after the surgery. Instead, use a q-tip and be gentle. Do not floss for three weeks, otherwise you might accidentally remove stitches.
Periodontitis Needs to be Avoided
Periodontitis is what occurs when teeth are not cleaned regularly. Plaque forms, gingivitis occurs and then eventually develops into periodontitis. GTR is not meant to be a common procedure. All it can do is heal the damage done, but that damage will occur again if the teeth are not kept clean. It is not a preventative measure, it is a last resort to save the mouth before the patient loses all of their teeth.
Dr. Shiffman at the Boynton Laser Dental Center has been performing guided tissue regeneration and bone generation processes for many years. He is brimming over with experience and there are few people in Florida more skilled at performing these procedures. If you suspect that you or someone you love has periodontitis and their teeth are starting to rot away, you need to make a dental appointment with the Boynton Laser Dental Center right away!