Periodontal disease is gum disease and is an ongoing bacterial infection located in the gums and bone around the teeth. This causes tooth loss. Periodontal key is an important component to a healthy body. There has been research shown that periodontal infections are inflection to serious medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. When an ongoing infection is present, you can’t fight off the infection alone. Luckily, with periodontal therapy, the debris and bacteria from the location are removed which allows the gum to heal.
Periodontal disease and examination is a part of your check up and will be diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during your periodontal examination.
For this examination, a periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is kindly used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The periodontal probe is used to help indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper and deeper.
Causes of Periodontal Disease?
Since periodontal disease is because of an ongoing infection, people with this disease have a low resistance to periodontal bacteria. This leads to bursts of activity in the ongoing gum infection. Every single time this infection grows, more support is lost for your teeth. Here are some factors that can cause these bursts of activities:
- Dental plaque
- Poor oral hygiene
- Genetic factors
There are also specific symptoms that go hand in hand with periodontal disease. Until this disease reaches the advanced stages, most of the symptoms are painless. There are symptoms that can indicate periodontal disease is present. Some of these symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums when brushing
- Sore or tender gums
- Receding gum lines
- Gums that are red or swollen
- Bad breath
- Pus located between the teeth and gums
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together
- Separating, protruding, or lose teeth
- Gaps between teeth
If this disease is caught in the early stages and no damage has been done then one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. Instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings will also be given.
A special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) will be recommended if the disease has progressed to more advanced stages. Usually it is done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In scaling, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line. Planning is next and that’s when the rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth. This helps gum tissue heal and the pockets to shrink. Usually, medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is someone who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. This person is a dentist that has received extensive training in these fields and has had 2-3 years of additional schooling beyond dental school.