Do Not Ignore Your Periodontal Health

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Why You Should Not Ignore Your Periodontal Health

The dental specialty that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases involving the tissues supporting the teeth is called periodontics. Dentists who specialize in periodontics are called periodontists, and also take up periodontal plastic surgery and dental implantation. Periodontal diseases are caused by bacterial infections of the periodontal ligament, which are fibers that hold the teeth and support them in the jaw, bone, and, of course, gums. A bacterial infection can destroy the gums and the supporting bone of the teeth in your mouth. A common result is loose teeth that fall out and needs to be removed and replaced with dental implants or bridges. When periodontal disease sets in, plastic surgery may be needed to correct gum and jawbone indentations, cover the exposed tooth root surfaces, or repair and reshape the gum tissue. To do so, dental implants are positioned to provide an artificial tooth root to hold the dental restorations, which will later be created by your prosthodontist or dentist.

Cause Of Periodontal Disease

The main cause of periodontal disease is a bacterial plaque, which is a colorless, sticky coating that forms on your teeth. If left untreated, due to poor oral hygiene, the plaque’s bacteria infect the gums, release toxins that inflame and redden the tissue, and in time destroy the tissues holding together the underlying bone and teeth. If this happens, the gums come apart from the teeth, form pockets with more plaque and worsen the infection.

Other Factors Affecting Gum Health

Plaque traps

Badly fitting partial dentures, decayed teeth, improperly filled teeth and broken or crowded teeth and can ‘trap’ buildup of plaque, which is difficult to remove by regular oral hygiene methods.

Negative behaviors and practices

Periodontal health can suffer because of oral piercings, a poor personal oral hygiene regimen, drug and alcohol abuse, and smoking. Poor nutritional habits and a stressful lifestyle can reduce your body’s ability to fight infection—making it prone to periodontal disease.

Systemic factors

People with diseases such as leukemia and diabetes, taking specific medications, and diagnosed with systemic conditions such as immunosuppression or malnutrition and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, are particularly vulnerable to gum disease because of lower resistance levels.

Hormonal factors

Hormonal factors and gum disease are predominantly true for women. During major life stages— puberty, pregnancy, and menopause—fluctuations in hormones can set off tissue changes in the whole body, including the mouth. Due to these changes, a woman’s chances of developing periodontal disease increase.

Genetic influences

A predisposition for developing periodontal diseases can be due to family history and genes.

Use of tobacco

There is more incidence of calculus formation on teeth, loss of bone and fibers that hold teeth, and deeper pockets between teeth and gums in tobacco users. In tobacco, the chemicals of tar and nicotine suppress the healing process and reduce the chance of success after periodontal treatment—apart from increasing the risk of oral cancer.

Medications

Certain medicines such as antidepressants, some heart medicines, and oral contraceptives can have contraindications for antibiotics, and can negatively affect your gums. It’s better to inform your dentist about the medicines you are taking.

Who Addresses Periodontal Diseases?

To detect and manage the periodontal disease, frequent professional dental checkups are necessary to check the state of your oral health. A general dentist can detect gum disease in the early stages and come up with a treatment plan. Gum disease needs specialized treatment, and general dentists may not have the skill to treat all the advanced forms of periodontal disease. To resolve this problem, your general dentist can refer you to a periodontist. But you don’t require a referral to see one and can do so directly.

Periodontal Diseases And Its Types

Gingivitis

Gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums around the teeth, is the mildest form of periodontal disease. If you have gingivitis, you won’t feel discomfort. But if not properly treated, it may lead to periodontitis.

Chronic periodontitis

Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of periodontitis. It results in inflammation of the supporting tissues of the teeth and bone loss. It is diagnosed by gum recession, bone loss through dental X-rays, pocket formation, and usually affects adults 35 years and older. But it can occur at any age.

Aggressive periodontitis

This is a less common form. The symptoms include rapid bone destruction and attachment loss. Aggressive periodontitis is found in patients who are otherwise healthy. There are two forms of aggressive periodontitis: localized aggressive periodontitis, which usually involves attachment loss around front teeth and first molars, and occurs near puberty; and generalized aggressive periodontitis, which affects people under 30 years old and involves attachment loss on incisors and first molars, three or more permanent teeth.

Necrotizing periodontal disease

This is an infection with signature features of the death of cells in the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone and gingival tissues. It usually occurs in patients with systemic conditions such as malnutrition, HIV infection, and immunosuppression.

Gum Disease Symptoms

Chances are you may have a disease of the gum and not know it—as there’s often no pain and periodontal diseases may not show symptoms until substantial bone loss has occurred. So, it’s all the more important that you see the dentist or periodontist if you experience any of the following common symptoms of periodontal disease: Tender, red, or swollen gums When you floss or brush, the gums bleed easily Gums that fall away from teeth Separating or loose teeth Pus between teeth and gums Bad breath that persists Change in fit of removable dentures or your bite For your regular periodontal maintenance Periodontal diseases are chronic. Without meticulous and vigilant treatment, periodontal diseases can recur. Once your periodontal health has been cataloged, your periodontist will plan a customized treatment plan to control your periodontal disease. Depending on how far the periodontal disease has progressed, treatment can vary, and if diagnosed and treated early, simple non-surgical periodontal therapy is usually sufficient. If periodontitis has resulted in deep periodontal pockets and heavy bone loss, surgical therapy is required. Bear in mind that you will still need to pursue ongoing periodontal procedures to ensure your oral health—even if your periodontitis is under control. The continuing treatment allows your periodontist to analyze your periodontal health and keep the infection under control. During re-evaluation appointments, your teeth will be professionally polished, new calculus and plaque will be removed, and your bite will be checked.

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