Periodontal Disease Continued – A Crash Course with Kirsten.
A periodontist can help patients with perio disease by helping them improve their day to day oral hygiene. Here at Woodborough House, Kuljeet is our periodontist, and he treats a lot of patients with varying levels of severity and strains of periodontal disease. The fact that there are many types of the infection means that, should you contract it, you can only know how to treat it when you know what type you have. One sad but important fact is that perio disease cannot be cured, but can be maintained by a specialist like Kuljeet. As such, an essential role of any periodontist is that of prevention, as well as management.
So, what exactly is periodontal disease?
Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support (bone) of your natural teeth. Dental plaque (poor oral hygiene) is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, often causing them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
For people whom have periodontal disease, suspects they have it, or simply want preventative advice, they need to visit a periodontist like Kuljeet Mehta. Individuals that have perio disease then need to receive treatment and maintenance of the gums to keep the bacteria load down to a minimum. If you have perio disease and do not do anything about it then you are far more likely to lose your teeth, but if placed under the care of a periodontist, your chances of keeping your teeth for longer dramatically increases due to the by the specific periodontal care and maintenance administered. Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth and smile, like a frame around a beautiful painting, and when your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become swollen and red, and this not only affects your oral wellbeing but your facial aesthetics, too. If individuals do not do have treatment and maintenance then in later stages of periodontal disease, the supporting bone is destroyed and your teeth will shift, loosen, or fall out. These changes affect your ability to chew and speak and they also spoil your smile and your confidence.
At Woodborough house, I nurse regularly with Kuljeet, which is always a very interesting and rewarding experience. The first stage of standard treatment plan is that the patient comes in for a consultation. Within this appointment we probe all around each tooth with an instrument that measures the depth of bone loss, we then take x-rays if this is applicable. Once Kuljeet has all the data that he needs then he can tell what type of gum disease the individual has and what treatment is best. Then, after this consultation, he writes a letter to the dentist and the patient explaining what type of periodontal disease and the best way to go about it to maintain and to keep the individual’s teeth. The patient will then come in for treatment, either deep cleaning under local anaesthetic or periodontal surgery in specific areas. Two months after the relevant procedure, the patient will come in for a review appointment to see how well they have responded. This appointment involves the probing around the teeth again and then we can see how the depths of the pockets have changed. After we are happy that this has improved then the patients goes onto a maintenance programme with Kuljeet every 3, 6 or 12 months.