Frequently Asked Questions About Periodontal Care
Q: What is a periodontist?
A: A periodontist specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating the supporting structures of the teeth: gums, bones and ligaments. In addition to treating periodontal diseases and inflammation, he or she can also place dental implants and provide cosmetic periodontal treatments.
A periodontist must complete additional education in periodontics following four years of dental school. Canadian accredited periodontal programs are a minimum of two years and graduates sit for the Fellowship exams with the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (FRCD (C)). The American Dental Association (CODA) accredited programs are a minimum of three years and successful completion results in Diplomate (Board Certification) status in the American Board of Peridontology.
Dr. Veisman, Founder of The Periodontal Specialists, is both a Fellow (FRCD) and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and is one of a very few practicing periodontists in Canada to carry both distinctions.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is one of the most common infections today. More than 75% of North Americans over 35 years of age have some form of periodontal disease. Although many are infected, few know they actually have the disease. In a recent study where 8 out of 10 people surveyed believed they did not have periodontal disease, 7 out of 10 exhibited one or more symptoms.
Periodontal diseases are painless until they reach an advanced stage. They are the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. They are also some of the most preventable diseases.
Q: What causes periodontal disease?
The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar. Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums. The toxins destroy supporting tissues around the teeth. Gums then pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that then fill up with more plaque. As gum disease progresses, the pockets continue to become deeper and deeper. Consequently, plaque continues to move further down the roots of the teeth damaging the bone that supports them. Unless treated, the affected teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.
Q: How do I know if I need periodontal care?
A: Generally your dentist will refer you. However, if you dont have a dentist and have swollen, red and unhealthy gums or have missing teeth and want implants, you can visit a periodontist directly. Please take a moment to take the Quiz above.
Q: How can I prevent gum disease?
A: The most effective way to prevent periodontal diseases (as well as cavities) is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily, and regular professional dental examinations and cleanings. Adults past age 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than from cavities.
Other factors that can affect the health of your gums include smoking or chewing tobacco, diabetes, stress, clenching or grinding teeth, some medication and poor nutrition.
Q: If I am very diligent about brushing my teeth and flossing, do I need professional cleaning?
A: Professional cleaning will remove tartar that builds up in areas you miss with brushing and flossing alone. Additionally, regular exams by your dentist are your best defense against gum disease, cavities and tooth loss.
Q: Do hormone changes affect gums?
A: For women, fluctuations in hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can affect tissues throughout the body. The gums can become swollen, red or bleed. At these times you have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease so its important to be even more vigilant with your oral health care.
Q: Do tartar control toothpastes reduce the chance of periodontal disease?
A: Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but since gum disease starts below the gum line, these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Q: How long does it take to recover from periodontal surgery?
A: If you follow Dr. Veismans instructions, you can generally expect to enjoy your normal routine the following day. Talk with Dr. Veisman about any special post-operative considerations you may have, such as exercise, diet or post-surgical medications. This should help minimize any disruptions to your daily activities.
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