Matthew Vogel, DMD
Few fields of medicine witnessed the kind of remarkable breakthroughs experienced by dentistry throughout the 20th century. As a premiere Cosmetic dentist in Gresham, Dr. Ries and his team what to make sure you are aware of the latest technology in the dental field
Just a little over 100 years ago, a trip to the dentist usually meant getting up from the chair with fewer teeth than when you first sat down. This was primarily due to dentistry being a profession more about helping to alleviate a patient’s pain rather than the prevention and restoration services offer by dentists today. The 21st century promises even more exciting breakthrough, especially in the field of tissue regeneration.
Even as early as the 60s, periodontists were well aware that patients who enjoyed healthy gums received numerous advantages in withstanding the mechanical stresses that afflict an individual’s teeth throughout a lifetime of use.
For those wondering what constitutes healthy gums, take a moment to head to the bathroom and look into the mirror. Just below or above the surface of your teeth, you should see pink or whitish-pink gum tissue. Now place your finger on the tissue. You should notice that the tissue feels firm and doesn’t move around when you press on it. Now, if you look just a little lower or higher, you’ll see a darker, redder tissue that does freely move around when pushed and is connected to the inside of your lip or cheek. That part of your mouth is referred to as the mucosa. Do you notice a difference?
If you enjoy plenty of gum tissue around the base of your teeth and color of your gums is as described above, you’re probably in great shape. However, the older people become, the more of that healthy gum tissue they begin to lose and the smaller the space between their teeth and mucosa becomes. This is a process known as gum recession, which can cause serious oral health issues in both seniors and adults alike.
When the roots of a tooth become exposed, they are more susceptible to harmful bacteria and outside stimuli that cause discomfort. One of the most immediate and noticeable signs of gum recession is hightened sensitivity to hot or cold stimuli, such as when drinking a hot cup of coffee or sipping on a cold glass of water. But the far more serious consequence of the condition is the erosion of a tooth’s root.
When this begins to occur, you may notice what appears to be a groove or cupped out portion of the root along the gum line. If you can feel a depression along the gum line, you’re suffering from erosion.
As erosion progresses, it begins to eat away at the connective tissue and surrounding bone structure that holds your tooth into place. This causes your teeth to become lose and could potentially cause tooth loss if not properly treated. For seniors who wear dentures, the loss of healthy gum tissue can result in dentures resting predominantly on the mucosa, which can greatly increase any denture soreness they may experience.
Traditionally, periodontists have used healthy gum tissue from the roof of patients’ mouths to perform gum grafting procedures to repair the effects of erosion. But new technologies have started to make those procedures a thing of the past.
The latest treatment method developed by researchers is a living cell sheet called Gintuit. Grown in a laboratory, the sheet consists of cultured cells and collagen that is surgically grafted onto areas of the mouth affected by gum erosion. This sheet then acts as a beacon to the body, letting it know where to place new, healthy gum tissue cells. Within a few weeks, the sheet is removed and patients can begin healing their new, healthy gums.
For seniors suffering from gum recession and denture pain, this type of new technology can offer a higher quality of life and less discomfort when they eat, speak, and drink. For adults suffering from the early stages of gum erosion, this provides dentists with one more tool in their efforts to save patients teeth and repair their smiles.