CANDIDATES FOR PERIODONTAL THERAPY:
Since periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, often caused by plaque and tartar buildup, anyone can get it – although certain people have extra risk factors or genetic predisposition to gum disease. You may have early stage gum disease (gingivitis) if you:
- Experience constant tenderness of the gums
- Notice bleeding when you brush or floss
- See your gums slowly receding
- Have chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- See your gums pulling away from your teeth, leaving pockets
- Have diabetes
- Have family members with gum disease
The first signs of gingivitis include bleeding while brushing, and red, swollen gums. Bleeding gums are an early symptom that most people ignore! If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen, pockets can get deeper, and the disease will ultimately cause bone, gum, and tooth loss.
UNDERSTANDING POCKET DEPTH:
Pocket depth refers to the size of the space between gums and teeth. As periodontal disease advances, the gums pull away from the teeth and form crevices where infection can thrive. At your regular exams, we’ll measure pocket depth to assess your periodontal wellness. Healthy gums have a pocket depth of 1 to 3 millimeters. Patients with early-stage gum disease often have a pocket depth between 4 and 5 millimeters. Moderately diseased gums have a pocket depth of 6 to 7 millimeters, and patients with advanced gum disease have a pocket depth greater than 8 millimeters.
PERIODONTAL THERAPY PROCEDURES:
During your exam, Dr. Patel will assess your gum tissue. Healthy gums are firm, pink, and do not bleed; the bone is strong and supports the teeth. If you are diagnosed with gum disease, we’ll prescribe appropriate treatment and monitor your progress. Treatment for early-stage gum disease includes scaling and root planing, instructions on proper home-care techniques, and the use of an interdental toothbrush one or more times a day. Advanced cases of periodontal disease may require medication or surgery, but in most cases, we find that symptoms can be remedied with in-office and at-home treatment. Periodontal exams are vitally important to detect and treat gum disease early. Research has shown a link between gum disease and whole-body health complications, including heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and low-birth-weight babies. Think you may have gum disease? contact us to request an appointment for a preventive exam and dental cleaning today!