Periodontology is the specialty of dentistry that concerns the supporting structures of the teeth, as well as the diseases and conditions that affect them. A soft invisible bacterial film known as plaque adheres to the teeth and will initiate the inflammatory response of the body’s defense mechanisms. If untreated, periodontal disease will cause the loss of the supporting bone of the teeth and eventually the loss of the teeth.
For over 20 years, dental researchers have found a causal relationship between untreated periodontal disease and premature heart attack and stroke. The chronic inflammation found in periodontal disease is believed to cause arterial inflammation, possibly leading to ruptures of cholesterol plaques from arterial linings. These floating bits of cholesterol can find their way to clog cardiac or cerebral arteries. One goal of periodontal treatment is to reduce the high levels of chronic inflammation and the toxic by-products of that inflammation. We do that by professionally debriding the teeth on a regular schedule customized for each patient.
Endodontics is the dental specialty that treats the pulp or central canal of the tooth. Treatment for dental infection or dental trauma may necessitate endodontics, or root canal therapy. Today many cracked teeth can be saved with specialized treatment involving microscopic surgery.
It’s not just straightening teeth any more. Orthodontists can move teeth of course, but they may also modify facial growth. Correcting adult malocclusion can often save teeth usually lost to periodontal disease. Braces don’t have to be all metal any more. Clear or ceramic brackets can be almost invisible. New techniques like Invisalign can correct minimal to moderate malocclusion with tooth positioners and no wires at all.
ORAL MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY
These surgeons can treat or remove many dental problems. Head, neck and jaw growths can be detected early and treated with minimally invasive surgery. Of course, hopeless or wisdom teeth can also be surgically extracted with little or no discomfort. In-office sedation is often used for surgery involving more extensive treatment.
These dental specialists can replace missing teeth and restore patients to full occlusion employing a variety of advanced techniques. Implants, fixed bridges, or removable dentures can provide a brand new smile with total cosmetics and function. Today, prosthodontists diagnose and treat many cases of hopeless or missing teeth with minimal patient time in the dental chair.