When you’re thinking of something as important as your oral health, it’s important to see the right specialist at the proper time. If you’ve every wondered what periodontal associates do, you aren’t alone. These dental practitioners are more common than most people realize, but many aren’t sure exactly what they do. To explain what we do in our Ocean Springs, MS office, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions below.

What do Periodontists Do?

Periodontists are Gulf Coast dentists who specialize in issues related to periodontal (gum) disease and the creation and placement of dental implants. Gum or periodontal disease is a common condition that causes gum inflammation and irritation, and if it’s not promptly treated, it can be painful and unsightly enough to cause teeth to loosen and fall out with time. Our periodontists are skilled in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gum disease. However, when teeth are lost because of periodontitis or other reasons, a periodontal dentist can suggest options such as implants that give our Ocean Springs patients new teeth in a day.

How are Periodontists Trained?

Our periodontists have received the same type of training and schooling that all dentists go through. However, once they’ve finished dental school, they get another three years of specific training in gum and tooth health. Periodontal disease is a complex condition that may have numerous effects on a patient’s health, and for that reason, these Ocean Springs dentists must undergo extensive training on the links between overall health and oral health.

When Should Patients Visits a Periodontist?

This question is one of the most frequently asked among potential patients. Most rely on general dentists to resolve all sorts of oral health issues, including those related to the gums. However, when issues are particularly severe or complex, a patient is typically referred to a periodontal practice. An Ocean Springs dentist and a periodontist will work together to craft customized treatment plans that improve patients’ oral health while correcting gum issues.

How Does Periodontal Disease Happen?

Gum disease starts when bacteria accumulate between teeth and along the patient’s gum line, which make the perfect hiding place. In the initial stages of periodontitis, few, if any, symptoms occur. However, as the bacteria breed, they excrete toxins that cause a patient’s gums to recede or pull away from the teeth, leaving their surface vulnerable to tartar and plaque. Once those bacteria make their way into the roots of the teeth, they can’t be eliminated with brushing, flossing, and rinsing. In this advanced stage of periodontal disease, tooth loss is a possibility. With a no-obligation consultation in our Ocean Springs, MS offices, you’ll learn about dental implant cost and other important treatment factors.

How is the Condition Diagnosed?

If you’ve every heard your hygienist or dentist using numbers during a checkup, you’ve undergone charting or pocket probing. During normal checkups, dentists perform a periodontal examination to determine the depth of the pockets between the gums and teeth. If pockets are more than four millimeters deep and bleeding is present, periodontitis and gingivitis are likely.

Signs That It’s Time to Make the Call

While it’s possible to address advanced periodontal disease, treatment may be costlier and more complex. When the disease is detected earlier, it’s less expensive and easier to treat. Seeing a periodontal expert in Ocean Springs, Mississippi is the best way to determine the presence of gum disease, but there are a few symptoms and signs patients can look for, such as those listed below.

  • Gums that are bleeding, red, or swollen, particularly during flossing and brushing. These are often the earliest and most reliable signs that a patient’s gums are being attacked by harmful bacteria.
  • Chronically bad breath or an unpleasant, sour taste in the mouth. Bacterial accumulation and toxin production may cause a foul taste that returns even with regular brushing and mouth rinse use.
  • Gums that are receding or the presence of deep pockets between the gums and teeth.
  • Teeth that feel loose or are moving from their normal positions.
  • Changes in bite pattern. As teeth loosen, there may be differences in the way a patient’s mouth feels when chewing or biting.
  • Pain during meals. Once there’s a bacterial infection of the tooth roots, biting into food can cause pressure and pain around the gums and affected teeth.
  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures. When the roots of the teeth are exposed, the teeth may become more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • A family history of periodontal disease. Numerous studies show that certain contributing factors are hereditary. If a person has a sibling, grandparent, or parent with the condition, they should see a periodontist as soon as possible for preventive treatment and advice.
  • Smoking or a history of it. Smoking inhibits circulation, so the gums don’t get the nourishment and oxygen needed to remain healthy. When a person’s gums aren’t in good health, they can’t prevent infection as well, which makes them more likely to develop gum disease.
  • The bacteria that cause gum disease feed on sugar, and those with diabetes often have more of it in saliva. Furthermore, diabetes inhibits the blood circulation that keeps gums healthy and in good condition.

Finally, the most important reason to visit our Ocean Springs office is never having had a periodontal evaluation. According to the CDC, half of people over 30 have gum disease in some form. If you’re over 30 and haven’t visited a periodontist recently, or at all, you should make an appointment as soon as possible to ensure that you get the help needed to prevent gum disease.

Don’t Delay, Set Up a Consultation Today

When a person loses their teeth, their overall health, self-esteem, and other parts of life are adversely affected. For years, our dental offices have been one of Ocean Springs’ most reliable sources of quality, professional periodontal care. If you have any of the above gum disease risk factors, or you’re seeing any symptoms or signs of a problem, make an appointment with us. By seeing a periodontist who practices sedation dentistry, you’ll take the first and most crucial steps in protecting your oral health. Visit our Gulfside Periodontics for more details or call us today to schedule a consultation.