What is a Periodontist and why should I see one?
Good teeth are more than a beautiful smile, they can also tell a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be developing certain diseases.
New research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good, too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems.
Research also shows that good oral health may actually prevent certain diseases from occurring. So in order to prevent oral complications, regular dental visits are important; and if there is a problem, a visit to a periodontist can be a good idea.
What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation and are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease.
Periodontists often treat more difficult periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as severe gum problems, using a range of surgical procedures. Additionally, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance and repair of dental implants.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is another term for gum disease. The severity of this problem can range from slight inflammation and redness of the gums (called gingivitis) to serious infections that can cause major damage to the soft tissue and bones in a mouth (called periodontitis).
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease starts when plaque accumulates on teeth. This build up is typically removed with regular brushing and flossing, but it can regenerate quickly. Plaque that stays on teeth for more than a few days can harden into tartar or calculus. Calculus can also build up from minerals found in saliva. Tartar or calculus is very difficult to remove, and requires a professional cleaning from a hygienist.
Without a good oral hygiene regimen and routine preventative care from a dentist, tartar and plaque can build up to the point that it irritates and inflames the gums. They become red, sensitive, and bleed easily. These are all the symptoms of gingivitis.
When gingivitis is not treated properly, inflammation causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating spaces that can fill with bacteria and infection. The bacteria, as well as the body’s own response to fighting the infection, breaks down the soft tissue and bone around the teeth. Because of permanent tissue loss, teeth too can become loose, and in some cases, they may even need to be removed.
What Are the Signs or Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
There are a number of signs or symptoms of periodontal disease which may include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red or inflamed gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
- Mouth sores
- A change in how your teeth fit when you bite together
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup with your dentist, or a specialist in Periodontal disease.
Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease
While many adults are at risk of developing gum disease, several factors can increase your odds including:
- Poor Nutrition
- Poor oral hygiene
- Certain Medications
- Hormonal changes in Women
- Older Age
- Other Illnesses and Treatments
- Genetic Susceptibility
- Teeth Grinding
The symptoms and side effects of gingivitis are reversible with professional care and good oral hygiene. While some symptoms of periodontitis may be permanent, it’s important to work with a dentist to create a treatment plan to address current symptoms, halt further damage, and restore a mouth back to a healthy state. A few treatments a dentist might suggest include a root planning and scaling (a deep cleaning performed by a hygienist), a course of antibiotics, or in some of the most serious instances – surgical options.
How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that nearly 65 million Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease. While a staggering number, the good news is periodontal disease is usually preventable with a regular, oral health routine. Brush teeth at least twice per day, floss daily and supplement this care with additional mouth cleaning tools such as – mouthwash, dental picks and inter dental brushes. These efforts, as well as scheduling bi-annual professional cleanings with a dentist will help stave off gum disease and improve overall dental health.
If you are suffering from swollen or painful gums and teeth, contact the experts at Labell dentistry to ask about treatment options.
Caring for your gums and teeth is important. Make sure to properly brush and floss every day and visit LaBell Dentistry for regular cleanings and checkups. Dr. Terry LaBell can help you overcome Periodontal disease and get you back on the road toward a healthier, happier smile. Call the office at 877.402.1246 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation today.