Periodontal treatment involves treatment of the gums as well as supporting structures surrounding teeth and any dental implants such as bone. Periodontists are specialist dentists who carry out this treatment.
Why is periodontal treatment important?
It is vital that the gums and supporting structure of the teeth are kept in optimum condition. This means that one's aesthetic smile remains undisturbed and that their teeth function properly. Periodontal disease is more commonly referred to as gum disease. With the rise of processed and sugary foods, the prevalence of gum disease has also increased. This means it is now more important than ever to ensure that one regularly has their gums checked for signs of disease and decay.
Periodontal (or gum) disease is an inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting structures of teeth, and it is caused by a build-up of plaque on teeth. This plaque is hardened in later stages and consists of bacteria that can damage the gums and supporting structures if not removed on a regular basis. When gum disease is detected in its early stages, it can be treated promptly, and the patient can introduce relevant changes to their lifestyle and dental hygiene routine to prevent the disease progressing further. Gingivitis is the professional term given to this early stage of gum disease.
What happens if gum disease is not treated in its early stages?
Early stages of gum disease are thankfully reversible with appropriate care and treatment. The primary mode of treatment is removal of plaque and calculus (which can only be done by a periodontist) and appropriate oral hygiene habits, including brushing regularly and flossing. If treatment does not take place in the early stage of gum disease, then chronic inflammation results. Inflammation, in turn, causes the gums to wear away and recede, and when the supporting structure of the teeth wears away, this results in teeth becoming loose. Eventually, these loose teeth can be lost.
How can a periodontist help in both early and advanced stages of gum disease?
In general, the early stages of treatment involve cleaning and disinfecting the tissue surrounding the teeth. Treatment is more thorough in the advanced stages of gum disease, and surgical procedures may be necessary to ensure optimal treatment. Dental implants may be necessary if severely decayed teeth need to be replaced, additional procedures include gum lifts, gum grafting and cosmetic surgery.
Ensure that regular check-ups are carried out by a trusted and experienced dentist to prevent the progression of gum disease.