What is a periodontist?

Periodontitis and periodontists

Most of us know that if our gums bleed, we may have some form of gum disease. However did you realise that if untreated, gum disease can not only cause you varying degrees of discomfort but ultimately will mean that you lose teeth.

If your dentist diagnoses serious gum problems, you may be referred to a periodontist. Periodontists are highly skilled in treating advanced gum problems and able to offer some very effective treatments and surgical procedures. Having trained for additional years beyond dental school, they have a wealth of knowledge in periodontitis, a disease of the periodontalPertaining to the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth. (gum) tissue.

How do gum problems start and get worse?

GingivitisInflammation of gingival tissue without loss of connective tissue. develops, causing red and swollen gums that bleed easily.
The infection burrows deeper and starts to destroy the tissue that keeps the tooth attached to the jaw bone. (This is periodontitis.)
The irritation causes the bone supporting the teeth to resorb (break down) and starts to cause the teeth to become mobile.
Eventually, the tooth may simply drop off – which is why it’s vital that periodontitis is diagnosed as early as possible
 

What treatments can a periodontist offer?

In many cases, non-surgical treatment is the treatment of choice: rigorous sessions to make sure your mouth is free of any hard deposits (tartar) and also that you have the best advice to help you keep your mouth clean.

If you have inflammation of the jaw bone, a periodontist can treat the inflamed tissues with ‘flap surgery’ under local anaesthetic. In this procedure, the tissue around the teeth is separated from the surface of the teeth, enabling the surfaces of the roots to be cleaned thoroughly. The inflamed tissue is then removed, which ensures that only the healthy part of the tissue comes into contact with the tooth. 

Periodontists can also treat gum recession or gum hypertrophy (where the gums become abnormally large) by transplanting healthy tissue from the palateThe hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth that separates the oral and nasal cavities. to the gums, and they can use various treatments for building more bone around the teeth.

How can I avoid gum disease?

Prevention is always better than cure, so the best ways to protect yourself from gum disease are:

•    Use interdental brushes or floss to get to the spaces between each tooth (40% of your tooth surfaces are between your teeth)
•    Brush your teeth and gums as well as possible
•    If your gums bleed, don’t stop brushing! You need to brush the inflamed area even more thoroughly and carefully
•    Have regular teeth cleaning with a dentist or hygienist who will be able to remove any tartar build-up using an ultrasonic scaler or manually

Going for a six-monthly check-up at the dentist – even if you don’t appear to have any dental problems – is really important if you want to safeguard your teeth and your future health. 

Find out more about maintaining your gum health and check where your nearest Colosseum Dental dentist is located.

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Dentist explaining treatment to senior patient

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