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,” which lead to infection and bone loss . It can also lead to prolonged bad breath, loose teeth, painful chewing and other complications. You can have periodontal disease without pain or other clear symptoms. That is why it is important to visit the dentist regularly. By maintaining regular dental visits your dentist will be able to spot and treat problems in their early stages.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
The dentist or hygienist checks for problems by looking at the color and firmness of your gums. He or she also uses a tool called a periodontal probe to gently measure the depth of a pockets between your teeth and gums. Very deep pockets are a sign of advanced periodontal disease.
During your visit dental x-rays may be taken to check the amount of bone supporting the teeth. The dentist or hygienist may also check how your teeth fit together.
Once periodontal disease is brought under control with treatment, it is very important that you get dental care on a regular basis. Cleaning your mouth daily at home is a must, but it is not enough to keep periodontal disease in check. Professional care is needed to help control periodontal disease.
Pockets and other effects of periodontal disease make it harder for you to clean plaque from your teeth. Your dentist may recommend treatment every three to four months to maintain healthy teeth and gums.