Periodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that affect the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It goes beyond just maintaining pearly whites; it's all about keeping your gums healthy, too! Healthy gums provide the foundation for strong teeth. They act as a protective barrier against harmful bacteria that can cause infections and lead to gum disease.
Common Periodontal Diseases
Periodontal diseases are a group of infections that affect the structures around the teeth, including the gums and bone. These diseases can range from mild gum inflammation to more severe conditions that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
- One common periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. It is often caused by poor oral hygiene habits, such as inadequate brushing and flossing. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with proper dental care.
- Another common periodontal disease is periodontitis, which occurs when gingivitis progresses without treatment. In this stage, bacteria in plaque infect the gums and start breaking down the connective tissues and bone supporting the teeth. This can ultimately result in loose teeth or even tooth loss.
- Other less common but still significant periodontal diseases include aggressive periodontitis, chronic periodontitis, and necrotizing periodontal diseases. Each has its own distinct characteristics, but all require professional intervention to prevent further damage.
Early detection of these diseases is crucial for successful treatment outcomes. Regular dental check-ups allow dentists to identify any signs of gum disease before it becomes advanced or causes irreversible damage.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
- One common symptom of periodontal disease is swollen or tender gums. If you notice that your gums are red, puffy, or painful to touch, it may be a sign of infection. Additionally, gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing should not be ignored.
- Another warning sign is persistent bad breath. While occasional bad breath can be normal, chronic halitosis could indicate an underlying gum problem. This occurs when bacteria build up in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene.
- Loose teeth or a change in tooth alignment should also raise concerns. Periodontal diseases can cause bone loss around the teeth, leading to instability and shifting of teeth over time.
- If you experience recurring gum infections known as abscesses or have pus between your teeth and gums, it's essential to seek immediate dental care. These signs often indicate advanced stages of periodontitis requiring professional intervention.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
When it comes to periodontal diseases, early diagnosis is key. Dentists use various methods to assess the health of your gums and determine if any issues are present. One common diagnostic tool is a periodontal probe, which measures the depth of spaces between your teeth and gums. X-rays may also be taken to examine the condition of your jawbone.
If gum disease is detected, treatment options will depend on the severity of the condition. Non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing may be recommended to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gumline. In some cases, antibiotics or antimicrobial mouth rinses can help control bacterial infection. For more advanced cases, surgical procedures like flap surgery or bone grafting may be necessary. These procedures aim to restore damaged tissues or rebuild lost bone structure.
If you experience any symptoms or warning signs of periodontal disease, don't hesitate to seek professional help from our dentist. We have the expertise to diagnose and treat various gum conditions effectively. To learn more about periodontics, call 408-364-1122 or visit 1570 LA Pradera Dr, Campbell, CA 95008.