Periodontics is the field of dentistry focusing on diseases that affect the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. A periodontist is a dentist who has received specialized training in periodontics. Periodontists are experts in the treatment of periodontal disease ranging from mild gingivitis to more severe periodontitis. They also specialize in the placement of dental implants.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone. If left untreated, it causes supporting bone to be lost from around the teeth. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the United States today.
In the early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, your gums may become red, inflamed, and may bleed easily. As this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by more frequent cleanings or periodontal scalings (also called deep cleanings), followed by proper home care. If left untreated, gingivitis may progress into periodontitis. At this stage, the gums begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets become populated by bacteria which can lead to the loss of tissue as well as bone surrounding the teeth. This can result in teeth that feel loose or begin to shift in your mouth.
Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
- gums that bleed easily
- red, swollen, tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- persistent bad breath
- permanent teeth that are loose
- changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Did you know that recent research has also indicated a correlation between periodontal disease and other health related issues? Bacteria entering the bloodstream through the infected gums has been linked to blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and infective endocarditis which is a bacterial infection causing the sac around the heart to become inflamed. Regular dental checkups and periodontal evaluations are very important in the prevention of gum disease. Dedham Dental Associates is pleased to offer the latest advances in periodontal/gum treatments.
So do your heart a favor and brush, floss, and visit us regularly for your checkup and cleanings. For more information about periodontal disease and your health, call Dedham Dental Associates today at (781) 329-1234.