What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums and tissues that support your teeth that can be treated by a specialist in periodontics in Panama. It is caused most often by the build-up of plaque and tartar when teeth are not routinely brushed and flossed.
There are two major stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis affects only the gums. It is a mild form of gum disease, and if properly treated, may be reversed. Left untreated, gingivitis turns into periodontitis. During this more destructive disease stage, bacteria penetrate into the deeper pockets of tissue where bone and membrane support your teeth. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and serious health problems.
What is a periodontist?
Periodontists are qualified dentists who have an additional three years of education and specialized training in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. They also perform dental implant surgery and cosmetic periodontal procedures. Your periodontist will work closely with your dentist to manage your oral health.
Detailed gum assessment
A very detailed gum assessment will be done for patients at risk of periodontal disease. We will also need to take x-rays to determine the amount of supporting bone that has become affected by gum disease. Commonly you will also be referred for an OPG (orthopantomagram), this will give us a comprehensive overview of your teeth, bone levels and jaw joint.
A small measuring tool, called a periodontal probe, allows us to identify what areas bleed easily or have receded and to measure the depth of the gum pockets alongside the tooth. Pockets are usually shallow when the gums are healthy, but will deepen with gum disease.
When periodontitis is present, the intervention of a specialist periodontics in Panama is required:
- Pocket depth increases due to swelling and inflammation and destructive changes
- The gums may bleed easily when touched, flossed and brushed
- The bone level changes around the tooth
- Your teeth may literally fall out
How is Gum Disease Treated?
During your dental visit, the hygienist and dentist will evaluate the health of your gums. Gum disease is a chronic illness. It is only reversible in the earliest stage (gingivitis). Once it advances, it needs to be managed regularly just like diabetes or any other chronic disease.
There are a variety of treatments depending on the progression of the infection. The most common is frequently referred to as a “deep cleaning.” This is scaling and root planing procedure that removes plaque from the tooth surfaces below the gum line (scaling) and smooths rough spots on the tooth roots (planing). This procedure removes the bacteria and creates a smooth surface for the gums to reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the specialist in periodontics in Panama may also use antibiotics.
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