Diagnosing Periodontal Gum DiseaseWe will diagnose periodontal gum disease based on the revealing of one or more periodontal pockets in the gum tissue. Periodontal gum pockets occur when the areas of the gum pulls away from the tooth measuring 4 millimeters or more. Upon diagnosing periodontal gum disease, we will take care to inspect the entire oral cavity, as in some circumstances gum disease may only affect one quadrant of the mouth and in others it may span the entire mouth.
So, what causes periodontal gum disease, you might find yourself wondering. Gum disease is caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. Consistent and proper flossing and brushing, in addition to regular routine dental cleanings and checkups, are critical to preventing periodontal gum disease. Not only can gum disease be caused by improper oral hygiene, but it can also be the result of a variety of chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Pregnant women are also more prone to developing periodontal gum disease as inflammation of the gums and hormonal changes can both contribute to the onset of the disease.
The good news is that if you have been diagnosed with periodontal gum disease, it is not the end of the world. You have options and with the proper periodontal maintenance and care, you can soon be on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile once again.
Scaling and Root PlaningIn most cases, we can treat your periodontal disease with a maintenance procedure referred to as scaling and root planing (or deep cleaning). However, if you have a more advanced case of periodontal gum disease you may be referred to a periodontal specialist for treatment.
Scaling and root planing, or deep cleaning, is quite different from your regular routine dental cleaning. Regular dental cleanings focus only on the surface of the teeth or anything above the gum line. Additionally, during regular dental cleanings the teeth are polished.
During a dental deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing, the focus is to remove tartar, bacteria and debris buildup from beneath the gum line. When tartar (also referred to as calculus) builds up below the gum line it creates a safe haven for bacteria. This collection of harmful bacteria cannot be removed by flossing, brushing or even regular dental cleanings. When bacteria are present under the gum line it triggers the body’s immune response which leads to inflammation. If left untreated, this inflammation and buildup of harmful bacteria will lead to infection, bone loss, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.
Therefore, periodontal maintenance and procedures like scaling and root planing are necessary to remove calculus, debris and plaque from above and below the gum line as well as to smooth the surface of the tooth in an effort to remove bacteria. Ultimately, this maintenance will help to treat and hopefully cure gum disease. From there it is up to you to practice proper oral hygiene to prevent the return of the disease.