Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Here you will find commonly asked questions.
Select one of the topics listed below.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by bacteria in the dental plaque in the mouth, which cause inflammation and bleeding gums. As the disease progresses, the gums separate from the teeth allowing damage to the underlying bone and loosening of the teeth. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist can prevent periodontal disease.
Is it true that there is a relationship between periodontal disease and systemic disease?
Yes, there is solid clinical evidence that some systemic conditions (e.g., diabetes, respiratory and heart disease) cause patients to become more prone to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease leads to the exacerbation of systemic diseases. Ask your periodontist about which systemic diseases are connected to periodontal disease.
Can treatment for periodontal disease stop tooth loss?
If caught early enough, surgical and non-surgical treatments can prevent the loss of teeth for those with periodontal disease. Discuss a treatment plan with your periodontist.
I have had periodontal treatment in the past. Why do I need it again?
Periodontal disease can be cured when the disease is in the early stages. After that, treatment helps to slow or stop progression of the disease. If treatment and oral health care is not kept up, the progression of the disease can start again, so discuss treatment with your dental care specialist.
I brush my teeth all the time so why do I have plaque and tartar?
Brushing and flossing help prevent tartar and plaque, but there are other ways tartar and plaque build on teeth. Some people are more prone to it in their saliva. Certain foods, beverages and toothpastes also promote tartar formation.
What can I do to reduce plaque formation?
Besides ramping up your oral health care, you may want to make changes to your diet or your dental products. Discuss ways you can reduce plaque formation with your dentist.
Which toothbrushes are most effective against gum disease?
Electric toothbrushes rotate at a fast speed and can clean your teeth more effectively in the same length of time with added brush strokes, so they are often recommended for those who are struggling with gum disease. Talk to your hygienist for more information.
Why have a dental implant instead of dentures or bridges?
For patients with healthy gums and bones, dental implants offer the look and feel of real teeth. Dentures can slip even with adhesive, and can cause gum irritation. Bridges can take their toll on gums, bones and surrounding teeth over time. Find out if you are a candidate for implants from your implant specialist.
How long does it take to get a dental implant?
These procedures are getting shorter all the time. Be aware that it takes time for the implant to take hold, so between the time that the titanium implant is put in and the time that the permanent artificial tooth is screwed in, several months will have passed. A temporary tooth will be put in place until the implant is secure. Your dental specialist will give you a timeline based on your individual circumstances.
What about the “tooth in a day” I see advertised?
Implants can happen in one day, but again, these will not be your permanent final teeth. It takes several months before the implant is securely fixed. However, you can walk out with a temporary tooth/teeth the day of your implant appointment. Talk to your implant specialist about this option.
Why do my gums recede and why does it matter?
There are many causes, including aggressive brushing, genetics, the position of teeth, grinding teeth and poor oral health. As gums recede, teeth can loosen and eventually be lost. Receding gums can be repaired with the help of your periodontist.
How do I prevent gum recession?
First, identify the cause with the help of your dentist or periodontist. Then discuss specific prevention and treatment options for your receding gums.
How to I repair my receded gums?
Once your gums begin to recede, you cannot repair damage by changing your diet or oral health care habits. You need advice and treatment from your periodontist. There are surgical and non-surgical options, depending on the extent of your condition.
Do I have to use my own tissue for gum transplants?
Many patients use their own tissue, but you can also use donor tissue. Ask your periodontist about the best choice for you.
What is bone grafting?
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that replaces missing or insufficient bone. In addition, the procedure also helps your body regrow lost bone. The bone graft material sometimes comes from the patient or sometimes from a donor; some are synthetic.
What is soft tissue grafting?
Gum tissue is scraped from the palate or some other source and used to prevent further recession, cover the exposed root or roots to protect teeth from decay, reduce sensitivity and improve the look of your smile.
My dentist says I need crown lengthening. What is it?
It doesn’t mean you have short teeth. Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure to expose a greater amount of the teeth, done by removing some of the gum tissue and often some of the bone from around the teeth.
Why do I need it?
Often it is a cosmetic procedure, but sometimes more length to the teeth is required to support a crown or filling. Typically, it would be a few teeth that would have the crowns lengthened for cosmetic reasons.
How is it done?
Using local anaesthesia. The periodontist starts by moving gum tissue away from the teeth to expose the roots and surrounding bone. Sometimes bone tissue also has to be removed. Once enough tooth has been exposed to support the planned restoration, sutures are used to stitch the gums in their new position. For cosmetic purposes, tissues are gradually reshaped to give the appearance of longer teeth and a less gummy smile.
My teeth are very short and I have a gummy smile. Can they be made more natural?
Gummy smiles are generally not due to short teeth, but too much gum tissue. With a simple surgical procedure, excess gum tissue can be removed to expose more tooth for a more pleasing smile. Ask your periodontist for more details about this procedure.
My teeth are long and roots are showing. Can they be made more natural?
When too much tooth is showing and roots are exposed, it first must be determined why the gums have receded so a proper treatment plan can be developed. While there are non-surgical procedures, often a soft tissue (gum) graft and possibly a bone graft must take place. Your periodontist can discuss your options with you.