Periodontitis is an extreme form of gum disease that leads to severe gum inflammation and other symptoms such as painful red and bleeding gums and infectious drainage. If periodontitis is not treated, it can cause tooth loss. Periodontitis is a type of bacterial infection that not only affects the soft tissues that surround your teeth but can also lead to erosion of the bones that support your teeth. Here are some ways your dentist can both diagnose and treat periodontitis to help restore your oral health.
Your dentist will take a medical and dental history from you to help identify any factors that could be causing your symptoms. For example, smoking and taking certain medications that can dry out your oral tissues can raise the risk for periodontitis, as can poor oral hygiene practices.
After your medical and dental history has been taken, your dentist will examine your oral cavity to look for the buildup of tartar and plaque and to assess your gums for bleeding. They will also check to see if you have periodontal pockets. These pockets form between the gums and teeth, and if they are present, your dentist will use a special dental probe to measure their depth. Dental X-rays will also be taken so that your dentist can assess your mouth for bone loss near the periodontal pockets.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Treating your periodontitis may be done by your general dentistry professional or a specialist known as a periodontist, who is a dentist that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Scaling and root planing is a special type of professional deep cleaning that is often recommended for people with periodontal disease. During a scaling and root planing, your dentist and hygienist will remove hardened tarter from the surfaces of your teeth and under your gum line.
The root planing portion of the procedure entails smoothing out the surfaces of the roots of your teeth. Smoothing the roots helps discourage the future buildup of tartar and bacteria so that your gum tissue can reattach to your teeth. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash and antibiotics to treat bacterial infections inside the periodontal pockets.
If you develop any of the above signs or symptoms of periodontal disease, schedule an appointment with your general dentistry professional as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease can help lower your risk for tooth loss and bone destruction, and it can also help restore both your oral health and your overall state of health.
Contact a general dentistry office for more information.