Gum disease, known as periodontal disease, is a chronic bacterial infection around the tooth that affects the gums and bone. It can occur on one particular tooth or many teeth.
If left untreated, this can result in bleeding gums, bad breath, shaky teeth and eventual tooth loss. There have been studies that link gum disease to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Pregnant women with gum disease have a higher risk of miscarriage and premature birth.
Why do my gums bleed?
Gum bleeding is usually the first sign of gum diseases. You may find your gums bleeding during brushing, flossing or even eating hard food. Other clinical signs/symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Shaky teeth
- Persistent bad breath
Why do teeth sometimes become shaky?
Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed – red, swollen and bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis and there is usually no pain at this stage. It is caused by inadequate oral hygiene and can be treated with professional dental treatment and good oral home care.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. At this stage, tissues and bones that support the tooth are destroyed. Gums will start to separate from the teeth, forming deeper pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums). As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen further and more gum tissues and bones are destroyed. Eventually, teeth will become shaky and have to be removed.
How can we prevent gum disease?
Proper daily toothbrushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is important to prevent gum diseases. Read all about proper brushing technique right here, including fresh tips about choosing your toothbrush.
Regular dental visits for a professional cleaning once every 6 months is also necessary to remove tartar and to better clean those areas that you may have missed. This regular visit can help prevent gum & oral disease.
Can It Be Too Late?
Don’t want your teeth to look like this?
Sometimes, gum disease can get out of control to such an extent that even professional cleaning by a dentist can’t reverse the damage done. The best solution is always prevention. But what if the damage is already done? Is it too late? Not always. It’s time to see the gum specialist; the periodontist.
What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is dentist who specialises in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. They receive extensive education and training in these areas and are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating gum disease.
Periodontists often treat more problematic cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing(in which the infected surface of the root is cleaned) or root surface debridement (in which damaged tissue is removed). The periodontist may also provide a range of surgical procedures which may be necessary for patients with severe gum problems.
Who Should See a Periodontist?
Some patients’ needs can be managed by the general dentist. However, as more and more patients are exhibiting signs of periodontal disease, coupled with research that suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of aging, periodontal treatment may necessitate a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist. Patients who present with moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with more complex cases, will be best managed by a partnership between the dentist and periodontist. (perio.org)