Why Dentistry Is Like an Iceberg

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Dentistry is more complicated than it may first appear. That’s because your teeth are like an iceberg. The part that you see on a daily basis is only a fraction of the full structure. General dentists work on the visible section above the water line—that is, the part that is above the gums. Periodontists work below the water line, focusing on the gums, root structure, and other areas that are not visible. Here are 4 signs that you may need periodontal work, even if your teeth look great.

Gums That Are Red, Swollen, or Sore

Healthy gums should be firm and even, and pink or coral in color. Red or swollen gums often indicate gingivitis, or mild periodontal disease. They may feel tender or even painful to the touch. If your gums begin to recede, you may have worsening periodontal disease, which must be treated immediately to avoid losing teeth.

Gums That Are Bleeding

Bleeding during brushing or flossing is a particularly common symptom of periodontal disease. You may also notice small, swollen pockets of pus along the gumline. Highly painful abscesses can occur as the disease progresses.

Bad Breath

Frequent or persistent bad breath (Halitosis) often goes hand in hand with gum disease. You may also have a constant bad taste in your mouth that does not respond to mints or mouthwash. Bad breath can have many causes, but most of them are treatable by a dentist. Therefore, you should always seek your dentist’s advice even if you do not believe you have periodontal disease.

Loose Teeth

As periodontal disease progresses, and the gums recede, the gums can actually detach from the teeth, leaving pockets where the bacteria can destroy the structures that support the teeth. At this point, you may notice that your teeth feel loose or have begun to noticeably shift. This is a later-stage symptom that requires immediate action to save your teeth.

Since all of these symptoms occur beneath the surface of your gums, it is easy to see why dentistry can resemble an iceberg. Your teeth might look fantastic above the “water line,” but have all sorts of problems that you cannot readily see. That’s why it is vital to ensure that all of the structures beneath the “water line” are as healthy and functional as they can be.

Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can not only destroy your teeth, but also increase your risk for heart disease and even systemic infections. With proper treatment, though, periodontal disease can be halted and reversed even in its later stages. Whatever symptoms you have, it is not too late. Call your dentist to learn what steps you can take for a healthier and more attractive you.

If you live in or near Framingham, and are searching for a dental office that features an experienced, compassionate team, we invite you to call Metrowest Prosthodontics today at (508) 620-6622 to schedule your first appointment.