Stop Gum Recession Early – Avoid Geriatric Tooth Decay

A significant portion of our population believes that gum recession is not a serious dental problem as long as their teeth are stable and they do not have sensitivity to ice cream or sweets. This thinking could hardly be farther from the truth. Other than adversely affecting one’s appearance, gum recession can also have a negative effect on a patient’s overall health. Geriatric tooth decay must be avoided, and a good way to do that is to stop gum recession as early as possible.

Gum recession continues as people age and then they are very likely to develop geriatric tooth decay. This type of decay occurs in older people and it is often different than the kind of decay that affects people at a younger age. In fact, the types of bacteria that cause this decay in the elderly are completely different and are often associated with various conditions that are created due to the medications that the elderly take on a regular basis.

Elderly people can get very bad decay on the roots of their teeth. Dentistry as a discipline is not at its best in terms of treating decaying roots—the exposed roots of teeth. The treatment required is not the same as taking care of decay at the top of the tooth, and techniques for root treatment have not been perfected.

For some patients, the lack of definitive treatment for root decay means that they continue to have recurrent decay followed by re-treatment–and the cycle repeats itself. Many of these people eventually lose teeth. If the gum recession had not occurred, or if it had been controlled very soon after it started, many of these geriatric patients would not have these problems later in life. Preventing tooth loss in the elderly is a worthwhile goal, and is very achievable with early diagnosis and gum recession treatment.

Dr. Karl A. Rose
Periodontist
Periodontal & Implant Associates of Greater Washington
Chevy Chase, MD
New Patients Welcome
www.periodontistwashingtondc.com

Dr. Karl A. Rose Reflects on His Pioneering Work in Bone Growth Research

Many patients experience bone loss in the jaw associated with periodontal disease or other factors. In my long career, one of the things I enjoy reflecting on most is being one of the pioneers in bone growth research when the profession was just starting to learn how to replace missing bone.

My involvement in bone growth research was through my association with the University of Pennsylvania, where I taught, and some academicians who came to the University of Pennsylvania from Sweden for scholarly and research purposes. These researchers had begun developing bone growth techniques, and with my dental patients I was performing beta testing on some of their products that were critical to growing bone.

Having worked with the materials for growing bone where teeth were present, I had some ideas about how to grow bone where teeth were missing and where bone loss had begun. I was motivated to find a solution for patients because in some patients there was not enough bone present to place dental implants. For dental implant treatment to succeed, there was often a need to build bone volume. We set up a proper trial with my patients who did not have teeth, and the results were that bone grew where only inadequate bone had previously existed.

That success was the birth of a whole area of dental bone growth research that academic dentistry has been working on and further developing for the past 30 years. It was a very exciting time in my career and in the history of dentistry. We learned how to grow bone predictably, and the techniques we helped develop have contributed to growing bone not only for dental purposes but for other medical purposes as well.

Now, patients all over the world have bone augmentation procedures to make them candidates for dental implants and other purposes. It is very satisfying for me to know that I was on the forefront of those breakthroughs and continuing research.

Dr. Karl A. Rose
Periodontist
Periodontal & Implant Associates of Greater Washington
Chevy Chase, MD
New Patients Welcome
www.periodontistwashingtondc.com

Dr. Karl A. Rose Explains His Goal of Saving Teeth

Dentists have historically served a number of purposes, including pulling a tooth to stop a patient’s pain and treating cavities. Eventually dentists got involved in gum disease treatment as a means of conquering tooth decay, which led to people holding onto their teeth. Some dentists today still have a much more mechanical approach and frequently pull teeth.

An important part of the art of dentistry is knowing when it is best to replace a tooth rather than to work to retain it. In my periodontal practice, I have helped many people save their teeth in situations where other dentists would have pulled the teeth. There is a point where, as a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner, I have to make the decision to work hard to save teeth when extracting teeth would be easier.

There is time when periodontal (gum) disease is not debilitating, but during this time it is deforming the dentition and the long-term result can be unsightly smiles. It takes a long time for periodontal disease to render someone unable to eat, or unable to speak or smile as a result of tooth loosening. When a person seeks treatment, that individual has decided that it is better to face their problems and seek a solution rather than live with periodontal disease, which is progressive.

As a periodontist I set out to focus on and study how to avoid losing teeth due to gum disease, which is a treatable problem that should not lead to tooth loss. My view is that if you treat the disease early enough, the problem stops and there is no need to pull teeth in many cases. Patients have excellent results from periodontal treatment and enjoy years of healthy smiling afterward.

Dr. Karl A. Rose
Periodontist
Periodontal & Implant Associates of Greater Washington
Chevy Chase, MD
New Patients Welcome
www.periodontistwashingtondc.com