The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss. The following are various forms of periodontal disease:
- Aggressive periodontitis
- Chronic periodontitis
- Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases
- Necrotizing periodontal diseases
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive specialized training in this field and are experts in diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. In addition, they are capable of performing cosmetic periodontal procedures that gives you a smile that you want.
Millions of people are affected by periodontal disease and many of them are totally ignorant about it. It is possible to assess the probability of your getting periodontal disease by using the tool for self-assessment provided in the website URL http://www.perio.org/consumer/patient-resources of American Academy of Periodontology.
It is very important to see a periodontist for periodontal evaluation under the following circumstances.
- Bleeding from gums when you brush or floss
- Gums are red, swollen or tender
- Gums that are pull away from the teeth
- Bad breath persisting
- Pus between the gums and teeth
- Shaking or loose teeth
- Improper fitting of teeth when you bite
- A sore or irritation in your mouth that persists
In persons who have healthy teeth the bone and gum tissue fits snugly around their teeth. Once you are affected by periodontal disease the bone and supporting tissue get destroyed thereby forming “pockets” around your teeth. Over a period of time these pockets become deeper thereby providing more space for bacteria. These bacteria develop around your teeth, accumulate and enter under the gum tissue. Since the pockets are deep they collect more bacteria resulting in increased loss of bone and tissue. At some point of time with too much loss of bone there will be a need to extract your teeth (Tooth Extraction)
It has been established by various researchers that Smoking is one of the major factors that is responsible for the development and progression of periodontal disease. The chances of smokers forming calculus plaque as compared to non-smokers are quite high; smokers tend to get deeper pockets between their teeth and gums and lose most of their bone and tissue supporting the teeth.
Researches have shown that 30% of the total population could be genetically affected by gum disease. The chances of such people developing periodontal disease are six times that of others even if their oral maintenance is good. In order to help them retain their teeth for a lifetime it is necessary to identify them with a genetic test and provide early treatment.
It is possible that periodontal disease is passed on from parents to children as well as between couples. According to Researchers this transfer takes place through Saliva. If one family member is affected by periodontal disease, the AAP recommends that all family members should be screened for periodontal disease.
As you grow older, the probability of getting affected by periodontal disease increases considerably. It has been estimated that more than 50% of people whose age is over 55 are affected by periodontitis. However it has been found by researchers that this increase is not only due to age but also due to other risk factors like poor general health, reduction in immunity, depression, deterioration in memory, reduced saliva flow etc.
There is a high probability of pregnant women who suffer from periodontal disease delivering pre-term low-birth weight babies.
About 50% of pregnant women experience pregnancy gingivitis. But women having good oral hygiene are unlikely to be affected by this condition provided they did not have gingivitis before pregnancy.
In order to retain your original teeth throughout lifetime it is necessary that you remove all the plaque/local deposits from your teeth and gums on a daily basis by proper brushing and flossing. You might be able to keep the deposits to the barest minimum by daily cleaning and flossing; however you cannot totally prevent it. Hence you must get your teeth cleaned by a dental professional once in 6 months.
Besides routine scaling and polishing your dentist will recommend that you consult a Periodontist who would further treat the disease by a Periodontal flap surgery with bone grafting.