People visit a dental office for a number of reasons such as teeth cleaning, the elimination of cavities or cosmetic procedures including whitening and dental veneers. However, one of the more important reasons for seeking out a dentist is an oral disease. There are several levels of oral disease and a surprising number of adults have one form or another. Oral diseases start out simply enough. The teeth build up plaque due to incomplete cleaning. Plaque can turn into tartar that affects the lower portion of the teeth and gum tissue. Eliminating that tough tartar is the cleaning process that most patients have on performed an annual basis. However, the first really serious stage in oral disease is gingivitis. This illness begins with inflamed gum tissue and may include some soreness. Gingivitis can lead to more advanced problems, but it can be reversed with proper care.
The most problematic oral disease is periodontitis. This disease occurs when gingivitis is not properly treated and can include inflammation to the pockets that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease occurs because the immune system is trying to break down any bacteria from the spreading plaque. Unfortunately, the resulting toxins can destroy gum and bone tissue and even those tissues that anchor the teeth in place. Most dental offices can handle mild cases of this disease, but a better solution is to locate a professional with training in periodontal disease.
Periodontists have a number of tools in their arsenal and are able to handle most of the issues that this disease causes. For example, the periodontist can perform scaling or root planing, which is the process of cleaning the portion of the teeth that is below the gum line. In severe cases, the periodontist can debride the root, which is the removal of damaged tissue. Alternately, they can perform minor surgical procedures to remove diseased tissue. One process that the periodontist may recommend for severe cases is a dental implant. An implant is an artificial root used to secure a crown or dental prosthetic. One purpose that an implant will serve is to reduce the loss of bone tissue. Jaw bone tissue can shrink whenever a tooth is missing or the periodontal disease becomes severe. In extreme cases, the bone may need to be reinforced with grafts.