But what exactly can your periodontist do to protect and correct your oral health and dental hygiene?
Periodontal and Dental Hygiene At Home
The best strategy for maintaining good dental hygiene and great gum health is to maintain a proper oral care regimen at home. That will minimize or even totally prevent any damage that your periodontist would otherwise need to correct.
Your periodontist himself will be quick to give you good "tooth and gum care" advice, such as the following:
- Us a soft bristled brush that you can safely (and gently) brush over the tooth-gum juncture. And ensure the brush head is small enough that you can maneuver it on each tooth to both clean its surface, the gum line, and inter-dental spaces.
- Floss at least once daily, before you go to bed at night. Flossing after each meal is desirable, but not always practical. Food particles left to fester between your teeth can quickly turn to plaque and cause gingivitis, periodontitis,cavities and other issues.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash that will kill bacteria that could otherwise hurt your periodontal tissue, plus lead to tooth decay. Be aware the mouthwash is at best a temporary fix or adjunct to physical home care.
- When necessary, use a rubber tip or perio aid to massage the interdental gums and remove loose food debris., but be careful with tooth picks that have a sharp end which can injure your gum tissues.
- Use a water pik to safely flush food particles away. Using it in the shower reduces the potential overspray on the mirrors. Ask your periodontist to recommend and demonstrate one for you.
- Follow a balanced, healthy diet that includes high vitamin and whole foods intake. Vitamin C and other nutrients will benefit your gums, and calcium and potassium will strengthen your teeth. Remember that a healthy body and immune system helps your teeth and gums, but poor oral health can negatively affect your overall body health leading to cardiac disease and damage to other organs.
A periodontal exam will go beyond what you would get with an ordinary dental exam, and it will put extra focus on periodontal health, while not ignoring overall oral health.
Here are some examples of what might be included in a typical periodontal check up:
- Signs of periodontal disease. If you need periodontal treatment, you want to catch it as early as possible to help reverse and minimize any damage. If your gums are overly sensitive, receding, easily bleed, or are infected, you could have gingivitis or even early-state periodontitis.
- Plaque/tartar deposits will be identified. If left on your teeth too long, plaque can harden and begin to irritate your gums. It can eventually lead to gingivitis or more advanced gum disease.
- Damaged teeth. Some teeth may be loose, badly worn on the crown, cracked, chipped, or misaligned. In extreme cases, you might need an extraction and dental implant.
- Damaged dental appliances/fillings. An old filling is giving way, a crown may be loose, or a bridge, denture, or implant may need attention.
- Your jaw health will be examined. X-rays can show if your jawbone is shrunken/worn at points, and your periodontist can check for TMJ (deterioration of lower jaw joints.)