Gum or periodontal disease is a very serious infection of the gums which leads to damaged soft tissue and bone destruction over time. When you don’t practice good oral hygiene, plaque forms around your gumline.
When this hardens into tartar, which takes as little as 24 hours. Your body’s immune response causes gum inflammation, as it tries to get rid of it. The problem is, that tartar is notoriously difficult to remove and you won’t be able to brush or floss it away yourself. It requires dental treatment.
As tartar lingers around, inflammation increases, eventually forming deep gum pockets that trap even more bacteria in a self-fulfilling cycle. When this isn’t treated promptly, the underlying bone begins to resorb and your gums will recede.
This leads to teeth that are loose or fall out in the advanced stages. The early warning signs of gum disease are red, tender, swollen, and bleeding gums. If you have these symptoms, contact us at Glen Valley Dentistry today.
Gingivitis is fully reversible but needs to be caught promptly so it doesn’t advance into periodontitis.
Dr. Williams will take x-rays and perform an oral exam to assess your symptoms and get an overall picture of your oral health state. Signs of gum disease can be detected on x-rays, such as bone loss.
Next, we will use a probe to measure the depths of your gum pockets. This is how we diagnose gum disease. We can tell what stage of gum disease you have depending on how deep these gum pockets are. Once pockets are greater than 3 mm, this indicates gum disease.
Using a scaler, plaque and tartar are scraped away from above and below the gum line.
The tooth’s roots are smoothed out so we can reattach the receded gums to the tooth.
Following your deep cleaning, we will call you back for another checkup so we can check that your gums are healing and gum pockets are no longer getting deeper. This indicates you no longer have an active infection.
A deep cleaning is the gold standard treatment for advanced gum disease. It is a more thorough version of a traditional dental cleaning. The scaling performed in a regular cleaning only removes plaque and tartar from above the gumline.
However, in a deep cleaning, a scaler, and an ultrasonic cleaner are used to remove plaque and tartar deposits from below the gumline as well, removing trapped bacteria in deep gum pockets. Unlike a normal cleaning, we also perform root planing.
This is when we use a scaler to smooth out your tooth’s roots. We do this so that the receded gums can be easily reattached to the teeth. This process is extensive and can take up to 2 hours which is why it is often done in stages and split into two separate appointments.
Surgical treatments for gum disease include gum flap surgery, gum and bone grafts, and guided tissue regeneration.
Gum disease is reversible in the early stages when a patient has gingivitis. When gum pockets are at a depth between 3 mm to 4 mm, this indicates gingivitis. At this stage, no irreversible damage is done to the gums and underlying bone.
This can be reversed with a traditional dental cleaning and a good oral hygiene routine. However, it’s important to carefully monitor symptoms and attend regular checkups because the mild nature of symptoms can go easily unnoticed.
The biggest problem is that most people don’t notice when they have gingivitis and it is left untreated due to infrequent dental visits. Once it advances into periodontitis, it is irreversible and you will suffer from gum recession and bone loss.
Then, you will require a deep cleaning. Once you have advanced periodontitis, even a deep cleaning may not be enough and you may need surgical intervention.
Almost half of the adult population over the age of 30 years old have some form of gum disease.