The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth”. Periodontal Disease (also known as “gum disease” or “periodontal infection”) is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection and inflammation under the gums can destroy the bone around your teeth which can eventually results in tooth loss. The majority of adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.
More importantly, research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems; including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. While research continues to define how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance is essential. Periodontal health is a key component to a healthy body.
What can cause a flare up of infection?
People with periodontal disease have low resistance to bacteria. This causes an ongoing gum infection that grows in “bursts” of activity. Each time it grows, more support for your teeth is lost. Some factors that can cause this to occur may include:
- Dental plaque
- Poor oral hygiene
- Stress or tension
- Genetic factors
- Bad bite
- Systemic/Chronic Illness
Get Infection Treated Immediately
When your infection flares up, or when there are signs that this is about to happen, your general dentist may recommend you see a periodontist.
Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection in the pockets around your teeth. You cannot fight off the infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we are able to remove debris and bacteria from the site, allowing your gums to heal.
Symptoms of Periodontal Infection
Periodontal infection is often painless until it reaches an advanced stage. There are usually symptoms which can indicate the presence of periodontal infection.
These may include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Itchy, aching, or tender gums
- Bleeding with brushing
- Receding gums (more of your tooth is exposed)
- Bad breath
- Pus when you press down on the gums
- Change in the way your teeth fit together when you chew
- Loose, separating or protruding teeth
- Change in the way partial dentures fit
- New space developing between teeth
If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact your general dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.
Important Note: Even if your gums look and feel normal, deep pockets of periodontal infection can still be present. Always ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for any signs of infection.
Who is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Our periodontist has also taken advanced training in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including 3 additional years of education beyond dental school. Periodontics is one of the 8 specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
Periodontists also provide other treatments, such as crown lengthening and bone regeneration.