Periodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontitis, commonly called gum disease. Periodontists, such as Dr. Levine, are dentist who have received intensive training at the Master’s degree level and are the experts in the causes and effects of periodontitis and in its clinical diagnosis and management.
What is periodontal disease and how is it treated in our office?
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in North America. Simply put, periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease of the teeth and gums that is progressive and leads to tooth and bone loss. It is a serious condition that begins with a build-up of plaque and bacteria leading to gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. Left untreated, the infection can inflame tissue and colonize gum pockets surrounding the teeth. The body’s reaction to this infection results in the break down and destruction of bone and soft tissue.
Studies have shown that periodontal disease can lead to other inflammatory conditions in the body, including heart disease. Diabetics are also more susceptible to periodontal disease and research has shown that the hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the risk of developing gingivitis.
But the good news is that tooth and bone loss and the health complications of periodontal disease are not inevitable. Periodontal disease can be successfully managed through education, proper oral hygiene, and treatments that rejuvenate and restore teeth and gums. Treatment for periodontal disease includes scaling and root planing which removes tartar buildup from teeth and gums, pocket elimination surgery that eliminates the disease in gum pockets, tissue regeneration that restores gums, and dental implants to replace missing teeth.
How do I know if I have Periodontal Disease?
Some common signs of periodontal disease include:
- unexplained bleeding when brushing or flossing
- bad breath
- gum recession
- pain, redness, or swelling of the gum tissue
- loose teeth or a change in bite pattern
Periodontal disease can start with simple bleeding around gums and progress to gum recession and loose teeth when infection is present. Often, when bone tissue is destroyed, the teeth that were once firmly attached become loose and fall out. It is important to treat periodontal disease early to prevent tooth loss and complications from infection. The first step in treatment is a thorough periodontal examination, where a Periodontist examines the teeth and gum tissue to determine the cause of the disease, the extent and severity of disease, and the appropriate management.