Frequently Asked Questions
Why visit a Periodontist?
A common reason why people might visit a periodontist is to treat problems that were caused by bacterial infections of the gums - that can lead to tooth loss or bone loss. Visiting a periodontist is valuable if you are concerned that you might be at risk of periodontal disease. It's thought that many people have periodontal disease but are unaware of the problem. Besides bad breath, a renewed confidence in your smile, and restored oral health and vitality, you'll be able to chew your food more easily and enjoy foods you avoided in the past.
Years ago, people accepted tooth loss as part of getting older. That need no longer be the case. With help from your dentist and your periodontist, plus your own dedication to good oral hygiene, you should keep your teeth for a lifetime!
Our office only treats periodontal disease and related disorders which have allowed us to develop enormous experience and knowledge to help your specific problem. Since we routinely treat these conditions, we deliver optimal results with the greatest comfort. We also provide exceptional preventive services to help avoid future need for treatment.
How do you know you are at risk? Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
The following signs may offer you some insight in whether or not you suffer from gum disease. If you have any of the following signs, contact our office right away, so that tooth and bone loss may be mitigated. If you have already lost teeth as a result of periodontal disease, then a periodontist can advise you on permanent tooth replacements, otherwise known as dental implants.
- Bleeding from your gums when you brush
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bad breath or bad taste
- Loose teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Pus in between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
- Any changes in the fit of partial dentures.
It is possible not to have these warning signs and still have gum disease. Also, most people do not feel pain with the disease. This is why regular checkups are important.
What Are The Types Of Periodontal Diseases?
Approximately 75 percent of all Americans have some form of periodontal disease. Bacteria in plaque cause your gums to become inflamed and a chronic infection can impact on the gums and bone that support your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy the bone and tissue surrounding the teeth, causing the bone to become loose and in some cases, painful. In addition, gum disease can cause bad breath and change the appearance of your smile. If your condition progresses far enough you can lose your teeth and affect your health in general.
Periodontal diseases fit into broad classifications:
- The earliest stage of gum disease.
- Inflammation of the gums
- Plaque and tartar build up is present at the gum line
- Gums are red and puffy
- Gums may bleed when you brush or floss
- Bone and fibers holding your teeth in place have not yet been affected
- With treatment, gingivitis can be reversed.
If the gingivitis is left untreated, the infection spreads from the gums to the bone. This process begins to destroy the bone that supports the teeth.
Moderate to severe periodontitis
- Plaque has spread to the roots of your teeth
- Infection continues to worsen
- This infection has damaged the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place
- Gums may have begun to pull away from your teeth forming a "pocket" below the gum line, which traps food, bacteria, plaque
- Immediate treatment can stop further damage and tooth loss
At this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone that support your teeth are destroyed, causing your teeth to loosen and move. The movement of your teeth can affect your bite, causing further dental problems and if not treated to save these teeth, they may need to be removed to prevent further damage.
What Is Juvenile Periodontitis?
Prepubertal Periodontitis (PPP) is a rare and rapidly progressive disease of young children that results in the destruction of the periodontal support of the primary dentition. The condition may occur as part of a recognized syndrome or may occur as an isolated finding.
Juvenile Periodontitis (JP) is one form of early-onset periodontal disease. Juvenile periodontitis typically may be first observed in individuals around puberty, ages 11 to 13. The two forms of juvenile periodontitis are generalized and localized.
Localized juvenile periodontitis is not a common finding in clinical practice. However, it does have a significant prevalence in the population. In the United States, the highest prevalence of localized juvenile periodontitis is among the African-American population. Females may be more susceptible than males.
Deep pockets of localized juvenile periodontitis are typically observed around the first molars and incisors, both maxillary and mandibular. The most unusual feature of early juvenile periodontitis is a lack of gingival inflammation, particularly around the areas with deep probing depths.
There is great variability within these classifications as to the cause and extent of deterioration.
What Factors Might Contribute to Periodontal Disease?
SMOKING /TOBACCO USE:
Tobacco users are more likely to get periodontal disease and suffer from the more severe forms. Also, healing following therapy may take more time.
PREGNANCY and PUBERTY
Some hormonal changes can cause the gums to become red and tender and bleed easily. Any preexisting periodontal disease can become more severe.
Stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal disease.
Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect oral health. You should always inform our office of the medicines you are taking and changes in your health history.
CLENCHING or GRINDING YOUR TEETH
These habits can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these tissues are destroyed.
Periodontal disease can be more severe in uncontrolled diabetics. In addition, untreated periodontal disease can make it harder for uncontrolled diabetics to keep their diabetes under control.
A diet low in important nutrients can also make it harder for the body to fight off infection.
Diseases that interfere with the body's immune system may worsen the condition of the gums.
Some 30% of the population are genetically vulnerable to gum disease regardless of how well they care for their teeth. A genetic test can show if you are at risk and whether or not you should regularly visit a periodontist to keep your teeth healthy over your lifetime.