Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and can usually be painless. Some people may not know they even have it. Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease. It is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Seeing a periodontist is the best way to know for sure if you have gum disease.
Who is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. They are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. During a consultation with a periodontist, he or she will examine the gums to check to see if there is any gum line recession and assess how the teeth fit together when biting as well as see if any teeth are loose. The periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces. The spaces are known as periodontal pockets. This helps the periodontist assess the health of the gums. X-rays may also be taken to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
Most people seek out a general dentist when they have any kind or oral health issue, including issues that affect the gums. When in fact, periodontists are experts in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum disease. In instances where periodontal issues are particularly complex or severe, however, the patient will typically be referred to a periodontist from their dentist anyway. The dentist and the periodontist will work together to create a treatment plan to correct issues involving the gums and to improve the patient’s overall oral health.
Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Gum disease begins when bacteria gather along the gum line and between teeth, where it’s easy for them to hide. As these bacteria multiply, they emit toxins that cause the gums to pull away from teeth, leaving more of the tooth and root exposed to plaque and tartar. Once the bacteria move below the gum line to the tooth root area, they can’t be removed with brushing and flossing alone. This is the advanced stage of gum disease when tooth loss can occur.
Although, as previously mentioned, gum disease can go undetected because often times the pain isn’t significant. A common sign of the start of gum disease is the gums bleeding when brushing or flossing. There is a percentage of people who find this normal. But it is actually one of the first signs that there is bacteria forming between your teeth and gums. If you notice the gums to be swollen or they are receding, this too is a sign of periodontal disease. Periodontitis is fairly common but also fairly preventable! Making your biannual dental appointments, maintaining good oral hygiene and of course a visit to the periodontist will help to either catch gum disease early or prevent it entirely.
We Can Help
The dental office of Beautiful Smiles is offering a FREE dental implant and periodontal consultation that includes any X-rays. Don’t wait. Make your appointment!