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More than three out of four Americans over the age of 35 have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontics is the field of dentistry that pertains to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gum disease.
What Is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in treating gum disease and oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training, including an additional three years of education after completing dental school. They often treat advanced or complicated diseases of the gums that require aggressive management or surgical intervention. If your gums need the expertise of a specialist, our skilled periodontists in Camp Crossing are just a click or call away.
What Causes Gum Disease?
If you don’t brush and floss regularly, a sticky, bacteria-laden film called plaque gradually builds up on the surface your teeth. When left in place, plaque hardens into tartar, which you cannot remove with your toothbrush. The bacteria contained in plaque and tartar infects and irritates your gums and eventually results in progressive gum disease. Factors that further increase your risk of developing gum disease include tobacco use, decreased immunity, poor nutrition, diabetes, certain prescription medications, substance abuse, and advanced age.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease is generally divided into two types: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form. Because little or no discomfort is involved, many people don’t know that they have gingivitis. According to periodontists, most cases of gingivitis are related to poor dental hygiene.
A more advanced form of gum disease occurs when infection and inflammation extend into the supporting structures that hold your teeth in place. Your gums begin to recede, and deep pockets form at the gum line. In advanced disease, bone loss may occur. Without appropriate periodontal treatment, teeth become loose and may eventually fall out.
What Causes Periodontitis?
Progressive disease occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontists also see cases of advanced gum disease that is related to other factors such as systemic disease, poor immune function, or hereditary conditions affecting the teeth and gums. Our skilled periodontists can diagnose and treat existing gum problems to help you keep your teeth and maintain healthier dental health regardless of the extent or cause of your gum disease.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Stage One: Gingivitis
Symptoms include swollen, discolored and bleeding gums, and bad breath. When mild, gingivitis is reversible with good dental care. In most cases, periodontists are not consulted for simple gingivitis.
Stage Two: Mild Periodontal Damage
Progression to stage two occurs when gums separate from the teeth and form pockets of infection. Damage to connective tissue begins to occur. Periodontists treat moderate disease with professional root planing and scaling, antibiotics, and therapeutic mouth rinses.
Stage Three: Severe Periodontal Damage
In the final stage, there is severe infection and significant damage to the structures that hold teeth in place. Loose teeth and increasing gaps between teeth become noticeable. Periodontists may treat severe cases with surgery or even tooth extraction if necessary.
What Is Periodontal Surgery?
To manage severe cases, periodontists employ various surgical techniques. One way periodontists surgically manage gum disease is by folding back the gums to treat deep infection, smoothing the surface of tooth roots, and removing the damaged bone or gum tissue. Another way is to perform bone or tissue grafts to cover exposed roots or encourage new tissue growth.
Can Gum Disease Be Cured?
In its early stages, gingivitis is completely reversible with appropriate care. Unfortunately, early intervention is necessary to guarantee a cure. Periodontists can often halt the progression of advanced disease to preserve the integrity of healthy teeth, but in severe cases the damage may be permanent. Another important reason to treat gum disease early is to avoid negative implications for your general health. Studies have found that gum disease can increase your risk of other illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Don’t let treatable gum disease end in disaster. Contact us today to get connected with skilled, professional periodontists in Camp Crossing.