When to See a Periodontist

Your dentist or hygienist may recommend a consultation with a periodontist if they find signs of periodontal disease. Although most of our patients see us on referral from a restorative dentist or hygienist, a referral is not necessary to be seen in our office.

The following are signs of periodontal disease that we’d be happy to evaluate:

  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating is the most common sign of a periodontal infection.
  • Ongoing halitosis (bad breath), which continues despite rigorous oral cleaning, can be a sign of periodontal disease.
  • Longer-looking and loose teeth can be due to recession of the gums or bone loss as a result of periodontal disease.
  • Related health concerns. Patients with heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia or osteoporosis are often have periodontal infections. The bacterial infection can spread through the blood stream, affecting other areas of the body.

The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following are common signs of a pathological process or cancerous growth:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth.
  • A sore that fails to heal, and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur and, curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly.