What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a highly common infection of the periodontal tissues (gums and bone) that are responsible for supporting the teeth. These infections are caused by bacteria that grow on the teeth near the gum line due to poor brushing and flossing practices. Periodontal disease is known as gingivitis during its earliest stages, which is typically characterized by a sore, swollen gums that may bleed easily. Allowed to progress, an advanced periodontal disease may set in causing pain, receding gums and pockets between the gums and teeth. Known as periodontitis, this type of periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults even more so than decay.
Did you know?
Periodontal disease has been associated with a number of risk factors aside from poor brushing and flossing habits. In fact, the risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis increases if you have a systemic disease like heart disease, as well as conditions like diabetes and aids. Other factors that may contribute to the development of periodontal disease include stress, genetics, crowded teeth, faulty dental restorations, and the use of certain medications that may cause dry mouth. According to the centers for disease control, women are also at an increased risk for periodontal disease when they are undergoing hormonal changes, such as with menopause or pregnancy.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have periodontal disease?
You may have gingivitis or periodontitis if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. However, the only way of knowing for sure whether you have a periodontal disease is via a professional dental exam. Keep in mind that you may have periodontal disease and be asymptomatic; so be sure to visit your dentist for a thorough exam and cleaning at least twice per year.
What will my dentist do if I am diagnosed with periodontal disease?
Your treatment will depend on whether you are diagnosed with gingivitis or periodontitis. Minor cases of periodontal disease are usually treated with a thorough cleaning and topical antibiotic. If, however, your periodontal tissues have begun to deteriorate and your gums have begun pulling away from your teeth, you may require a more complex treatment, such as flap surgery or bone and gum grafting.
Will I need to do anything to prevent periodontal disease from returning?
Yes. Periodontal disease can reoccur especially if you do not make any changes to your brushing and flossing habits. By brushing after every meal, flossing once daily, avoiding tobacco, and getting frequent professional dental cleanings, you could help prevent periodontal disease from returning in the future.
When you walk into a dental consult assuming it’ll be just about that tooth which is hurting you’ll be shocked to know that it’s a lot more than just that.Every dentist is meant to evaluate you on a variety of characteristics starting from your mental make up down to your risk assessment. Remember (hangover the line about you’re just a dentist) those movies that talk about dentists not being doctors Well if you read on you’ll know why dentists are doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to your overall health as well.
1. Checking your overall health: It starts from the waiting room where we tend to check your overall appearance rule out any obvious syndromes and diseases. Your body language, breathing rate and sometimes even your gait can be telltale signs of underlying problems that when diagnosed well can medically save you years of treatment. A patient of ours was really tall and had a very oddly pronounced bone structure and we ordered hormone tests turns out he had a growth hormone excess which was due to a tumour which was thankfully removed in time. If you were panting getting to your dentist on the first floor you may want to get a fitness assessment for your heart.
2. Checking your facial profile: Your face shape colour and size has a lot to do with how your smile fits into that frame. Most dentists have a good idea about your teeth size shape and even alignment even before you open your mouth.
3. Profiling your personality: We learn to classify personality types in dental school as this helps us in communicating with you better and also customizing your smiles based on your nature. If you’re a bold female in a corporate job we reckon strong squarish teeth will suit your personality as opposed to round small teeth. If you’re a methodical and detail oriented patient chances are you’re extremely conscious about your dental hygiene as well. If you’re extremely phobic of the entire dental process we have prior assessments for the same to ensure proper treatment approaches suited to your needs.
4. Assessing your genetic propensity: When your dental checkup is happening we also take a family history to understand if you are genetically more prone to cavities and dental problems. These patterns have a tremendous genetic repetition and even if you brush twice a day you may wonder why you end up with cavities it could be because genetically you are more prone. This doesn’t mean all is lost but this means that you will have to protect yourself more than regular hygiene methods like a fluoride treatment annually starting from a young age can help give you extra protection.
5. Checking for any joint problems: Some of us end up getting severe facial pain and problems with our facial joints near the ears. Since this falls between the grey area of an ear,nose,throat physician or a dentist we don’t know who exactly will solve these problems. But many dentists undertake TMJ studies as a specialty in itself since it’s more to do with jaws and teeth than the ears. A normal checkup will entail assessing your joint is healthy as well.
6. Saving you from Cancer: A dentist also must check your gums lips and cheeks to rule out any white patches or growths that may increase your risk to cancer. A routine full mouth panoramic X-ray is actually legally mandatory after each checkup to rule out any hidden bone or jaw growths.
If you are someone who shudders at the sound of the word dentist, read our blog to help you to take the first step.