When Your Body Attacks Your Teeth: Combating Autoimmune Dental Problems

Warning Signs It's Time To See A Periodontist

A periodontist is a specialized dentist who focuses on preventing, diagnosing, and treating advanced stages of gum disease (such as periodontitis). Many periodontists also specialize in dental implants. Your regular dentist's office may or may not have a periodontist on its staff; if not, and if you're having problems with your gum or jaw bone health, you may need to be referred to a specialist. Here are a few of the most common warning signs that it's time to schedule an appointment with a periodontist.

Your Gums Bleed (Seemingly for No Reason)

While it's not entirely uncommon for a person's gums to bleed on occasion after brushing or flossing too hard, your gums shouldn't be bleeding regularly or without a reasonable cause. If they do, this could be a sign that you have gingivitis or have even developed periodontal disease (an advanced form of gum disease). Specifically, if you notice bleeding in your gums while you're eating or even just talking, it's definitely time to see a periodontist.

Your Teeth Feel Loose

Many people with periodontal disease (periodontitis) suffer from bone loss in the jaw; specifically, this occurs at the point where the tooth anchors into the jaw bone. As a result, their teeth begin to feel loose over time. They may shift during eating or even when pushed with one's tongue or finger. If you've begun to notice this (especially if you've noticed loose teeth in combination with bleeding gums), then you might be suffering from gingivitis or even the beginnings of periodontal disease.

You've Noticed Persistent Bad Breath

If you've noticed any changes in your breath over the last few weeks or months, this could also be a sign of gum problems. Specifically, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can have a very foul odor. Some compare it to the smell of mothballs, but it can smell different from person to person. Either way, if you've noticed bad breath that's persistent and that you're unable to get rid of despite chewing gum and using an antibacterial mouthwash regularly, this could be a sign of gingivitis periodontal disease. 

These are just a few examples of situations in which it may be necessary to see a periodontist right away. Fortunately, if you're seeing your regular dentist as recommended, he or she should be able to notify you if you're displaying any of the signs of periodontal disease or other gum problems.