Gum Disease Therapy & Maintenance
At Baseline Dental Practice we will evaluate for periodontal disease during every exam and recommend the appropriate treatment. It is important to realize that the gum disease is an open sore in the filthiest location of the body, and should be treated as such. Untreated periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, but is preventable if treated in its early stages.
The following are possible signs of periodontal disease:
New spacing between teeth
Persistent bad breath
Pus around the teeth and gums
Red and puffy gums
Tenderness or discomfort
Periodontal disease is diagnosed by measuring a small natural pocket formed between the gum tissue and the teeth. Healthy gums have pockets that measure 1 - 3 millimeters. Periodontal pockets eventually fill with plaque and tartar that is full of harmful bacteria. If bacteria is not brushed, flossed, or cleaned away the gums become irritated, inflamed, and easily bleed. This is referred to as gingivitis. Pocket depths of 4 -5 millimeters indicates that gingivitis is present. If bacteria is left in periodontal pockets over long periods of time the bacteria will destroy the bone supporting the teeth. The destruction of bone and gum tissue is called periodontitis and is diagnosed by pocket depths of 5 millimeters or more.
Regular cleanings rid the teeth of any plaque and bacteria missed during regular home care. If periodontal disease has progressed to the point of periodontitis, then a scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. To adequately clean below the gums without discomfort, it is necessary for the hygienist to numb the area where they will scale and root plane.
A few weeks after scaling and root planing a follow up cleaning will be performed and pocket measurements will be taken to monitor improvement. Pocket depths and plaque levels will determine future cleaning intervals. For some, a regular six month cleaning protocol will be fine. For others, that have slow response to treatment, 3 or 4 month cleaning intervals will be necessary for periodontal maintenance. Some patients may have pocket depths and plaque levels too excessive to clean thoroughly. A surgery performed by a periodontist (gum specialist) may be necessary to achieve healthy gum tissue.
Unhealthy and infected gums have been linked to many other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Unhealthy bacteria can enter your body through the sores in the gums. Our goal is to provide each patient with a disease-free mouth and healthy gums.