Periodontology specializes the system of hard and soft tissues that supports your teeth and maintains their position in the jaw.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms of the disease which cause loss of supporting bone. This group appears to be at greatest risk of losing teeth through periodontal disease. It is caused by the bacteria which regularly collect on the teeth.
How healthy are your gums?
Check the health of your gums by asking yourself the following questions:
- Are your gums swollen?
- Do your gums bleed when you are brushing, or when you use a toothpick or other cleaning device?
- Have your gums shrunk back or receded, so that your teeth appear lengthened?
- Are you aware of any loosening of your teeth?
- Do you see any yellowish, pus-like fluid at the gum line when you massage your gums?
- Have your teeth drifted or changed position, and have any gaps appeared between them?
- Have your parents or siblings lost teeth prematurely due to tooth loosening?
What should I do if I think I might have the disease?
Regular dental examinations by a general dental practitioner will ensure that a correct diagnosis is made. The dentist will then be able to advise you on any necessary treatment. This will often include instruction in specific oral hygiene methods to help you control the bacteria that collect on your teeth. There may also be a need to carry out some professional cleaning of your teeth. Most cases of periodontal disease can be successfully treated by your dentist using methods such as these. Occasionally, more complex treatments are required and your dentist will advise you accordingly.