Gingivitis is characterized by red, bleeding, and inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. Periodontal disease shares the same characteristics but is also accompanied by bone loss. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva, and bacteria, coats the tooth above and below the gumline, irritating the gum tissue. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus that is very difficult to remove. Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and calculus can destroy the gum tissue and underlying bone surrounding the teeth. This creates deep pockets, bone loss, and possible loss of your teeth. Periodontal disease is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss.
Think of it as if bugs are eating away at the soil around a tree trunk. Eventually, they eat away all of the soil and part of the trees roots, causing the tree to collapse.
Gum disease, both gingivitis and periodontal disease, is diagnosed through a process that measures the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimeters in-depth, or bleeding gums, are considered hazardous and will generally require treatment.
The early detection and prevention of gum disease is another reason to see your hygienist regularly.
Gum disease is treated by carefully disrupting the bacteria and substances that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our dental team has had advanced training regarding how to effectively disrupt the harmful bacteria. This process of removing the bacteria usually requires several, longer, visits to our office.
Keep in mind that once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you will always have the disease due to the damage that it does to your body. Once the bacteria have been removed by your hygienist, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained with good home care and seeing your hygienist on a regular basis. You will be placed on a routine appointment schedule called periodontal maintenance to preserve your oral health.
Remember, it is always better to prevent disease than to treat disease.
Whether you need a Hays dentist to provide your children with routine dental exams and professional cleanings or are interested in implant dentistry to fill the gaps in your own smile, you can rest assured that we have the dental services you need to achieve and maintain your best possible smile! To schedule an appointment with us, please give our office a call at (785) 621-4242 or complete the Appointment Request form. We look forward to meeting you soon and welcoming you to our practice where we give our patients plenty of reasons to smile!