Among the causes for periodontal (gum) disease are genetic susceptibility, smoking, 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
During your initial comprehensive exam, Dr. Thomas will evaluate your gingiva (gums). He will measure the pockets and determine the bone level and level of inflammation exhibited. Areas with severe bone loss, deep pocketing, or heavy inflammation may require further treatment then a standard dental cleaning.
If it is found that you suffer from periodontal disease, the first line of treatment is a non-surgical approach. The teeth will be cleaned in stages and the areas cleaned will be numbed so that pathogens, bacteria and infected tissue can be removed, allowing healthy tissue to create a new attachment and smaller pocket to be formed. This procedure is called a scaling and root planing, also known as a "deep cleaning." Once the initial deep cleaning is completed, more regular maintenance visits are required to prevent periodontal disease from returning.