It's important to keep tabs on your oral health. It helps you identify dental-related issues and seek immediate medical attention. A minor concern can become a bigger issue if ignored.
When a simple dental issue gets worse, seeing a specialist is crucial. Periodontists are skilled in addressing oral health, teeth structure, and treating gum problems. Here are five important reasons to see a periodontist:
1. Bleeding Gums
If not treated early, bleeding gums can result in gingivitis. It's the inflammation of the gingiva (gums) from plaque buildup. You can hurt your gums even if you don’t brush too hard if you have gum disease. Additionally, bleeding can result from flossing or chewing. Some tell-tale signs of gingivitis include blood spots on your toothbrush or swollen gums.
Dentist Dr. Arnold Funk recommends checking the gums immediately after you notice blood on them. Your periodontist will examine your teeth and gums and offer the right treatment before the condition gets out of hand.
2. Receding Gums
Besides bleeding or swollen gums, you should see a periodontist if you have a gingival recession. An oral exam is essential as it can help you better understand your gum health. You can do a simple check, like evaluating your gums in front of a mirror, to see if your gums are starting to recede. You can avoid teeth loss if you get immediate treatment.
While it's natural for gums to recede with age, the change is hardly noticeable. If your gums recede rapidly, you should have them checked. You can also engage your dentist if your teeth look longer than usual. Receding gums could be a sign of advanced periodontal disease. When your gums move away from your teeth, it exposes your roots. It makes them more susceptible to problems such as swollen and sensitive gums, which make eating and drinking challenging. In this case, booking an appointment with a periodontist is best for better treatment or intervention.
3. Changes In Teeth Alignment
Well-aligned teeth are aesthetically appealing. Misaligned teeth can cause speaking or eating problems, and bruxism. Malocclusion is the term used to refer to misaligned teeth. Some causes of malocclusion include genetics, gum recession, age, and tooth loss.
Well-aligned teeth are aesthetically appealing. Misaligned teeth can cause speaking or eating problems and bruxism. Malocclusion is the term used to refer to misaligned teeth. Some causes of malocclusion include:
Genetics: Malocclusion can be inherited. Some of the common inherited teeth alignment problems include cleft lip and palate.
Gum recession: Receding gums result in shrinkage and bone loss, affecting the dental arrangement.
Age: As you grow older, your teeth and lips become smaller. Such changes could put pressure on your teeth and result in changes in your dental alignment.
Teeth Loss: When you lose a tooth, adjacent teeth can shift towards the gap and result in misalignment.
Misaligned teeth have ripple effects on your bone structure. If you experience any shifts, you might feel pain as you chew or bite your food. Periodontists can perform an occlusal adjustment or refer you to an orthodontist to prescribe dental braces. You’ll need to visit your periodontist to evaluate the damage to the bone structure and the gums before going to an orthodontist. If the problem is severe, you could undergo advanced treatments such as surgery to correct the bones.
4. Loose Teeth
One of the leading causes of tooth loss is periodontitis. Failing to brush your teeth regularly encourages food remains to form plaque on your teeth. Plaque can harbor bacteria which may result in periodontal diseases. With time, the dental biofilm hardens to a substance called tartar.
Note that removing tartar from your teeth requires a periodontist. During tartar removal, a periodontal pocket gap may weaken the root system. Periodontal pockets can become painful if not sealed, affecting your chewing pattern. So, if you have these gaps, it’s best to see a periodontist to help you fix them.
5. Chronic Bad Breath
Bad breath is a serious turn-off. It can lower your self-esteem and affect your social life. Bad breath can result from consuming foods with strong smells like garlic, onions, and some spices. Additionally, alcoholic drinks and dairy products can leave your breath smelly.
Good habits like brushing and flossing may help prevent halitosis. If it persists, it’s best to visit a periodontist for a thorough check-up. It could be an early sign of more advanced dental problems like tooth decay or gum infection.
Your oral health is important, and prevention is always better than cure. While your regular dentist can treat most dental issues, a periodontist has the right skills to diagnose and treat gum infections and diseases. Watch out for early symptoms that could lead to dental complications. Schedule a periodontal check-up as soon as you notice them.
Heller Hyer is a dentistry student who loves to share valuable health and lifestyle guides and tips on her blog. During her free time, she enjoys cooking and watching travel shows.