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Fighting Gum Disease

Fighting Gum Disease

New research showing the links between good oral hygiene and the overall well-being of ones body is stronger than ever.  With both the gums and teeth to keep healthy from disease, it can be a fight and a challenge for the immune system. When there are imbalances to the system, one may experience gum disease (or periodontal disease) which is a response triggered by bacterial infection.  Many people can prevent gum disease by having their teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year along with brushing and flossing daily, yet for many others these precautions may not be enough.

Unfortunantely if you haven't seen the dentist for quite some time, have less than ideal dental care and/or poor personal home care, you may find the need to be treated for early to advanced stages of gum disease.  For years, the standard of care in the treatment of gum disease is called "scaling and root planning".  This procedure is non-surgical and removes the hard and soft deposits that form on the root surfaces.  In some cases it may take between 2-4 hours with anesthetic to get someone back on track. With subsequent proper home care education, along with routine dental visits, one should be able to manage their dental health and prevent further progression of the disease.
This procedure alone has helped many people stop their gum disease, though in some instances when people have more complex disease, it may be necessary to be referred to a Periodontist.  A Periodontist is a person who specializes in the treatment of the gums, bone and implants.
 

Diagnosis

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or by your hygienist during your comprehensive examination.  This type of examination should always be a regular part of your hygiene visits in order to monitor, provide and control the dental health of each and every patient.

A periodontal instrument is used to evaluate the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gum attachment to the tooth.  The health of the patient's gums, pocket depths, bone levels and the mobility of teeth will determine the type of hygiene visit you will require.  The diagnosis will be as follows:
 

Adult Prophy

Healthy sulcus 3mm or less and does not bleed
 

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first sign stage of periodontal disease.  Plaque and its by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed with some sulcus numbers beginning to get deeper.

Periodontitis

Plaque hardens into calculus.  As calculus and plaque continue to build up, deeper pockets form between the gums and the teeth, becoming filled with even more bacteria.  The gums becomes very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily.  Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed.  Unless treated, the affected teeth may become very loose and may be lost.  Generalized moderate to severe bone lose may be present.

For more details and information, please visit the ADA website.