A dentist that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the soft tissues within the mouth is known as a periodontist. Periodontists are specially skilled to identify gum diseases and aid patients through surgery and restorative techniques. Severe gum disease can result in an otherwise healthy individual losing several teeth; even when the teeth do not exhibit signs of decay. Most periodontal infections are painless and display few symptoms. Consistent, correct home care is essential to warding off periodontal diseases.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the result of a colorless, sticky bacteria (plaque). Plaque is constantly adhering to the surface of teeth where it breeds and develops into chronic inflammation of the gum tissue. Although a consistent home care routine is essential, it is also important to be aware of other high-risk behaviors that contribute to periodontal disease.
Smoking, stress, clenching of jaw and grinding of teeth, poor nutrition, genetics, medication and hormonal fluctuations all contribute to the development of periodontal disease. Because some of these factors cannot be controlled, it is important to acknowledge periods of increased risk and be sure to pay careful attention to dental hygiene during those times.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Many patients report that they displayed no symptoms of periodontal disease prior to being diagnosed. Although this is a common occurrence, there are a few warning signs that should not be ignored. Red, swollen, bleeding and/or receding gum tissues are all symptoms of a periodontal infection. Teeth that are separating, bad breath, a change in bite (the way teeth fit together), sores and/or a change in the way a dental prosthesis fits are also signs a periodontal condition.
Types of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis and Periodontitis are the two main categories of gum disease. Gingivitis is the least severe although, when left untreated can quickly develop into Periodontitis. Patients with gingivitis often experience red, swollen gums that bleed easily. It is possible to completely reverse the effects of gingivitis through excellent oral hygiene.
Periodontitis is much more severe and if left untreated can result in both tooth and bone loss. When plaque is not removed the bacteria spreads below the gum line where it produces toxins that destroy bone and soft tissue. As this occurs, the gum tissue separates from the tooth creating pockets that become infected.
Periodontal disease is most often the result of poor dental hygiene and if found early can be completely reversed. Periodontal disease that is not addressed is aggressive and severe and can result in the complete destruction of bone and soft tissue; leaving the patient will few options for restorative treatment.