Periodontics involves the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gum disease by a Periodontist. A Periodontist is a dentist who has had additional years of specialised training in a post-graduate programme and is certified as such by the General Dental Council. The most common types of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is infection of the gingiva (gum tissue), and is the initial stage of the disease process. Gums become red, swollen and may bleed easily. Underlying bone levels are unaffected.
Periodontal Disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, bone and ligaments that support the teeth and anchor them in the jaw. The bacteria are normal inhabitants of the mouth and form a film of dental plaque and calculus (tartar) which stick to the teeth. The bacteria produce poisonous toxins which stimulate the immune response to fight the infection. If the disease process is not stopped, the supporting structures of the teeth will continue to be destroyed. Eventually teeth become mobile (wobbly) and may lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease can occur at any age. Unfortunately, the disease process is usually asymptomatic and painless. The disease can be easily detected during regular dental examinations.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Bleeding gums (spontaneous, on brushing, or flossing etc)
- Tenderness, Swelling, Redness
- Bad breath and Taste
- Loose Teeth
- Abscess (pus)
- Pain on biting
Consultation with a Periodontist
Periodontal charting is performed for all teeth and diagnostic X-rays are taken to show if bone damage has occurred as a result of the disease process. The main goal of a periodontal consultation is to diagnose the periodontal condition and discuss treatment.
Treatment of gum disease
Treatment is eradication of the disease process from the gums, ligaments and bones that surround the teeth, and restoration of health that can be predictably maintained in the future. Initial treatment involves educating patients in the proper management of plaque removal and oral hygiene techniques. This is a critical component in the success of halting the disease progression.
Periodontal scaling and root surface debridement are performed to remove these bacteria, plaque and the resulting calculus, and to smooth the root surfaces, making it harder for plaque to congregate in these areas, thus trying to prevent periodontal problems from recurring. However, immediately after the scaling and root planning, the periodontal tissues will begin to heal, and there will be dramatic improvement to your gums and the teeth’s supporting structures.
Scaling and root planning have been shown to be extremely efficient in resolving gingivitis and mild periodontitis.
However, when more advanced periodontitis exists, scaling and root surface debridement are usually the first step, and this may in turn be followed by more treatment that we offer such as surgical procedures, Guided tissue/bone regeneration and WaterLase.
Maintenance / Supportive therapy
Once the active phase of treatment is complete and gum health stabilized, it is extremely important that patients be seen by a hygienist or periodontist for periodontal cleaning on a regular basis. Diligent homecare and compliance with regular maintenance, give the best chance for prevention of further periodontal disease and maintaining long term periodontal health.
Did you know?
Periodontal disease is linked with
- Heart disease and strokes. Diabetes
- Loose Teeth
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