Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.
Research has shown that periodontal disease is associated with other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One out of every two adults in the United States aged 30 and over has periodontal disease, according to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Maintaining good periodontal health is important to the overall health and well-being of our aging population,”said Diksha Katwal, D.D.S., M.S.D., Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology and pre-doctoral Director at the UofL School of Dentistry.
“Periodontists are trained to identify and address periodontal disease. These dental professionals exam each tooth above and below the gum line to determine if a person has the condition,” Katwal said.
Bacteria in the mouth infect tissue surrounding the tooth, causing inflammation that leads to periodontal disease. When bacteria stay on the teeth long enough, they form a film called plaque, which eventually hardens to tartar or calculus. Tartar build-up can spread below the gum line, which makes the teeth harder to clean. Then, only a dental health professional can remove the tartar and stop the periodontal disease process.
To help prevent or control periodontal diseases, said Katwal, it is important to brush and floss every day to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease. See a dentist at least once a year for checkups, or more frequently if you have periodontitis.
A periodontist specializes in not only recognizing, treating and maintaining the teeth affected by periodontitis but also can take care of receding gums via gum grafting, bone preservation and bone regeneration and implant placement for the missing teeth.
To schedule an appointment at the UofL School of Dentistry call 502-852-5096. Or visit the school’s faculty practice, UofL Dental Associates by calling 502-852-5401.