Gingivitis is the beginning of periodontal disease and is caused when food, plaque, or tarter stays on the teeth and is not removed. Symptoms of gingivitis are pink swollen gums and possible bleeding while brushing or flossing. To treat your gingivitis your dentist or hygienist will show you how to properly clean your teeth at home. It is very important to treat gingivitis because it can lead to a more serious condition known as periodontal disease or gum disease.
Periodontal Disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is the breaking down of a person’s periodontium which is the bone and gums that support your teeth. This is caused by severe buildup of plaque and tarter that develops from bad oral hygiene. Most people don’t even know that they have periodontal disease until the symptoms become more severe. Symptoms of Periodontal Disease include:
Red Swollen Gums which then over time begin to shrink
Bleedings while Brushing or Flossing
Bleeding while eating hard foods
Mobile or Loose teeth
Shifting and Spacing of teeth
Pus around teeth
If periodontal disease is not treated, it can lead to the loss of your tooth and serious infection in your mouth. There are several steps for treatment of periodontal disease. First the hygienist and/or dentist will explain to you proper oral hygiene which includes brushing and flossing of your teeth daily and proper cleaning of your tongue as well daily. The most common way to treat periodontal disease is though scaling and root planning also known as a SRP which is done by a dental hygienist. An SRP is where the dental hygienist will remove tarter and plaque buildup that is above and below the gum line. During this procedure the hygienist will usually give you some local anesthesia to help make the procedure more comfortable for you. The hygienist might also place some medicine or antibiotic on the gums during the time of the SRP. In severe cases of periodontal disease your dentist might refer you to a specialist for periodontal disease known as a Periodontist. Gum disease has also been associated with medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Comprehensive Periodontal Examination and Periodontal Maintenances
Comprehensive Periodontal Examination - This exam is done by the dental hygienist most of the time and in some case by the dentist. During this exam the hygienist or dentist will use a tool known as a perio probe which looks almost like a small ruler. They will use the perio probe to measure the spaces that are in between your teeth and your gums. For normal healthy gums this space is between 1 to 3 millimeters anything 4 millimeters or deeper can be considered unhealthy gums and could be periodontal disease.
Periodontal Maintenances - A periodontal maintenances is regular check-ups for someone who has periodontal disease and has already done an SRP or deep cleaning. These check-ups are more frequent then someone who has healthy gums. A person with healthy gums only needs to see the dental hygienist once every 6 months, a person with periodontal disease however needs to see the hygienist once every 3 to 4 months. A periodontal maintenance does what the name says it does, it maintains your gums.