Among the causes for periodontal (gum) disease are genetic susceptibility, smoking, infrequent dental visits, and other illnesses like diabetes. Periodontal maintenance involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Most gum diseases are preventable with proper oral hygiene. However, what can start out as gingivitis (inflamed or bleeding gums) can quickly turn into periodontitis. In such cases, gums pull away from the tooth to create “pockets,” thereby exposing a dental root to infection. It can also lead to prolonged bad breath, loose teeth, painful chewing and other complications.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
To determine the frequency and type of cleanings we would recommend for your best oral health we take the following steps:
- Measure the pockets around your teeth and see if they are 3mm and under (sign of health) or 4mm and above (signs of bone and gum disease, where structures that support the tooth have been lost)
- Check for bleeding on probing. Bleeding in the gums around teeth is a sign of activity gum disease (gingivitis) or bone and gum disease (periodontal disease)
- Check for gum loss or recession that can expose your roots leading to more difficulty in cleaning the teeth or sensitivity.
After we gather the measurements discussed about above then we would schedule for one of the following cleanings:
- Regular cleaning, pockets are 3mm and under, minimal bleeding, not a lot of gum recession
- Deeper cleaning, pockets are 4mm or deeper in many areas, bleeding is present, a lot of recession trapping food around the roots
- Periodontal maintenance, pockets are 4mm and minimal bleeding, deep cleaning was done in the past
- Referral to periodontist if pockets are 6mm and above and will need more treatment than a deeper cleaning.