Many people experience gum disease to some degree. However, at a certain point, mild gum disease may advance, threatening bone loss and loose teeth. Dr. Raymond Hatland discusses at what point periodontal care is necessary for gum disease.
Gum disease and periodontal disease are virtually synonymous. However, gum disease more often refers to the milder form of gingivitis.
Poor oral hygiene is a major contributor to gingivitis. Twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as semi-annual dental checkups, can prevent gingivitis. When caught early, reversal is possible.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Early gum disease symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums while flossing
- Bad breath
- Gum inflammation – reddening or darkening
Without treatment, gum disease may progress to a more severe form known as periodontitis. Deep pockets start forming in the gums as teeth begin pulling away. Bacteria enters the pockets, targeting the teeth’s supporting structures.
Eventually, you may notice gum recession, exposing tooth roots. Perhaps your bite has changed. You may even find pus forming between the teeth.
The point at which periodontal care becomes necessary depends on the pocket depth of the groove between the teeth and gums. Normal pocket depth is between 1mm and 3 mm. When the depth is 4mm or deeper, periodontitis may have developed. The dentist takes X-rays in deep pocket areas to see if bone loss has occurred. Based on disease severity and other factors, the dentist may assign a grade to periodontitis.
Basic periodontal care may consist of scaling. This involves removing tartar and bacteria from the gums and teeth surfaces. Scaling is performed via instruments or lasers.
Root planing goes one step beyond scaling. In root planing, the tooth surface beneath the gum line is scraped. While this procedure also removes tartar and bacteria, its purpose is smoothing out the rough roots of the teeth. This prevents biofilm buildup.
The dentist may prescribe antibiotics to control bacteria. Topical antibiotics, such as rinses, can kill off dangerous bacteria. Sometimes, oral antibiotics are necessary to effectively eradicate these germs.
Based on disease severity, scaling and root planing may require several sessions, scheduled over two to four months. This treatment may prevent periodontal disease from worsening. More serious cases may require periodontal surgery.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Hatland
Request an appointment with Dr. Hatland today to have your teeth and gums examined. Dr. Hatland will evaluate your gums and determine whether periodontal care is needed. You can reach our Chicago office by calling (773) 338-4440 or our Indianapolis office by calling (317) 257-0794.