Did Fighting Gum Disease Just Get Easier?
At New Albany Implants we love being on the cutting edge of dental technology. Staying abreast of new forms of care that make our patients’ lives easier is what we love to do, and that’s why we’re so excited about a potential new treatment for gum disease.
While the research is still in its preliminary stages there seem to be some promising results emerging from silicon nitride, a bioceramic compound that’s currently used in spinal implants. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the world today, and affects around two thirds of adults at some point in their lives. Any opportunity to make treatment easier definitely has our attention!
From The Spine To The Teeth
Silicon nitride has been a huge boon to the medical industry. In many ways it has replaced titanium as the implant material of choice, at least for spinal fusions. It’s able to bond to bone in similar ways to titanium, but with a huge added benefit: it naturally fights bacteria.
Researchers tested silicon nitride on oral bacteria, and they found some really amazing things. Oral bacteria that made contact with silicon nitride actually had its DNA damaged to the point where it was unable to feed or reproduce. And it did all that in just six days!
By chemically or thermally changing the surface of the silicon researchers were able to control the bacteria in a lot of different ways: slowing their metabolism, growth, and ability to spread. This amazing development means that gum disease therapy could soon be very different from what it is today!
Don’t get excited yet, though: the use of silicon nitride to treat gum disease is still a ways off. More research is needed to figure out if it will work well, so you’re going to have to stick to conventional treatments for now.
How Gum Disease Happens
Our mouths are full of bacteria, and many of the strains resting on our teeth are harmful. When they get below the gumline they spread, causing the body to react the way it does to every infection: inflammation. It’s inflammation that causes your gums to turn redder, puff up, and bleed easily. Continued inflammation will result in gum recession and tooth loss. In short, gum disease is nothing to take lightly.
We know that gum disease is caused by oral bacteria, but how does that bacteria end up getting beneath your gums? There are a number of risk factors that make gum disease more likely, many of which are within your control.
- Smokers have much higher rates of gum disease because cigarette smoke kills certain strains of bacteria in the mouth. Guess what? It’s not killing the dangerous ones – it’s making more room for the harmful ones to spread.
- Genetic predisposition is, of course, a common cause. This doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, however. You just have to be disciplined about caring for your teeth!
- Poor oral hygiene, whether not brushing well enough or not flossing nightly, are one of the most immediate causes of gum disease. It only takes oral bacteria about 24 hours to start irritating your gums – anything that gets left behind is potentially destructive!
- Routine dental appointments are just as important as brushing your teeth. The easiest way to treat gum disease is to prevent it, and preventing it means seeing the dentist regularly for a comprehensive exam.
How We Treat Gum Disease
If you come to our New Albany office with symptoms of gum disease we’ll first figure out how bad it is. In many cases we can treat it simply by helping you learn to care for your teeth better at home. In more severe cases we’ll need to perform a deep cleaning, which involves going below the gumline to remove bacteria.
Also known as scaling and root planing, the process cleans out the pockets between your teeth and gums, allowing them to heal free of bacteria. It’s the most successful, simplest, and fastest way to get relief for gum disease – at least until silicon nitride treatment becomes reality!
Don’t Mess Around With Your Gums!
Your gums play an essential role in stabilizing and supporting your teeth. Without healthy gums you’re almost guaranteed to lose teeth as you age, so don’t take them for granted. If you notice even the most minimal bleeding when brushing you should give us a call!