Holding on to your teeth for a long as possible is the aim of modern dentistry. But what happens if there’s nothing for your teeth to hold on to? A periodontist can treat gum disease and help you avoid premature loss of otherwise healthy teeth.
Gum disease can occur when dental plaque builds up on teeth, particularly where the gum joins the tooth. Early signs are bleeding, redness and swelling of the gum. If this isn’t treated, the gum margin, the part of the gum that seals to the tooth, is weakened and spaces form between the tooth and the gum. Bacteria then gets into these pockets, causing further inflammation, which can then attack the tooth root. As bone is lost, larger spaces begin to form between the tooth and the gum, resulting in bad breath, bad tastes in the mouth, and ultimately loose teeth.
If gum disease is advanced, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist, who can help prevent the disease developing further. He or she can help remove plaque and calculus that can’t be reached by normal brushing, and regular maintenance visits may be necessary, as gum diseases tend to recur.
Like any dental therapy, the sooner the condition is identified and treated, the better and longer lasting the results. Whilst careful cleaning with a soft brush, especially along the gum line, will help prevent gum disease, your dentist is the best judge of whether a special periodontal visit is necessary.