With the influx of studies and research that highlight a connection between your mouth and the rest of your body, battling serious oral health conditions has become quite an important endeavor. Scientists around the world are hard at work investigating risks, causes, cures, and treatments for such maladies as tooth decay and gum disease. In the midst of this race for information, scientists have developed a new method of attack against one of these damaging oral health issues. Syosset dentist Dr. Richard Kobak discusses the technology that could potentially change the way we approach oral health care.
The Development of Gum Disease
To understand the gum disease battle, you must first understand gum disease. It all begins with the buildup of oral bacteria, which gather together to form dental plaque that sticks to your teeth and gums. When plaque accumulates at your gumline, it irritates the gum tissue, causing redness, inflammation, and bleeding. If left untreated, the infection will worsen progressively, and your gums will begin to detach from your teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can collect and breed, exacerbating the condition. Eventually, untreated gum disease can lead to the loss of one or more teeth, as well as the potential destruction of your teeth’s supporting jawbone structure.
Treating Gum Disease
Traditionally, treating mild to moderate gum disease involves a professional dental cleaning, during which our hygienist will thoroughly remove residual traces of plaque and tartar, especially below the gumline. Smoothing the surface area of tooth roots also helps prevent future plaque from accumulating on them, and Dr. Kobak may recommend antibiotics to fight bacteria. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, however, believe that targeting inflammation, as opposed to bacteria, would yield more effective results. After all, bacterial infection may initiate gum disease, but inflammation keeps it going and is the cause for much of gum disease’s destructive power.
Healthy Gums—In a Pill
The University of Pittsburgh researchers developed a technology involving controlled-release capsules that contain a protein intended to attract and guide immune cells to your diseased gums. As gum disease progresses, the bacterial infection causes your gum tissue to pull away from your teeth, creating small pockets where bacteria can collect. The capsules, which are made from the same polymer that is used in dissolvable medical sutures, are injected into these pockets. As the protein is released, it summons your immune system’s white blood cells to the area. The immune cells create a hostile environment for the disease process, and potentially facilitate gum tissue healing and regeneration.
Even if these capsules become commercially available, however, proper oral hygiene and periodontal maintenance are essential to keeping your gums and mouth healthy. To learn more about state-of-the-art gum disease treatment and prevention, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kobak by calling our Syosset dental office at (516) 433-2211. We welcome patients from Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk, and the surrounding New York City neighborhoods.