We do full mouth gum pocket measurements at your new patient visit and at least yearly. We carefully examine the gums for signs of bleeding, infection, tissue health and tooth mobility.
Understanding & Arresting Gum Disease
Up to 80 percent of the population unknowingly has some form of gum disease. Characterized by a persistent bacterial infection surrounding the teeth, gum disease causes little discomfort and produces few obvious symptoms in the early stages. When periodontal disease is not treated, it will spread and compromise gums, teeth, bone, and it can lead to heart disease and strokes, as well as complications for diabetics and pregnant women.
Who is at risk?
Any of the following conditions greatly exacerbate the risk of gum disease: smoking, tobacco use, hormone fluctuations, stress, some medications, bruxism, diabetes, poor nutrition, HIV and other immunosuppressive diseases, heredity, and poor oral hygiene. Even patients who practice good oral home care routines can get gum disease. Gums irritated by bacteria can recede from the teeth, creating deep pockets where more bacteria can hide and flourish.
Treating Gum Disease
Early on, when redness, swelling, and bleeding are the only symptoms, we can treat and reverse gum disease non-surgically. Regular checkups greatly increase the likelihood for early detection and conservative treatment. Generally, treatment will include careful, individualized instruction regarding the most effective means of brushing and flossing at home. This strategy is accompanied by professional removal (dental term is root scaling and planing) of plaque and tartar from all affected tooth surfaces and gum pocket irrigation with an antimicrobial rinse. Normally, patients experience significant improvement.
If gum disease becomes advanced, or does not respond well to conventional treatment, surgery may be needed to remediate the disease and restore the mouth to good oral health. In these cases, you will be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) who may perform surgical treatments such as pocket depth reduction, bone or tissue regeneration, and soft tissue grafting. The goal of these procedures is to improve your chances of keeping your teeth for life.
If you have further questions about gum disease and current treatments, please contact our office for a consultation.