Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the tissue in your mouth. There are other names we sometimes use to distinguish the stage or severity such as gingivitis, gum disease, or chronic periodontitis, but each term is still used to signify an active bacterial infection. If left untreated, periodontal disease can be highly destructive to your teeth, gums and supporting bone. Our staff at A Smiling Heart Dentistry will want to evaluate the level of infection and treat it. Before our patients leave we like to offer guidance, tips and education on maintaining a healthier mouth.
During your regular dental cleaning, one of the steps our hygienist takes is looking for the symptoms of gum disease and then determining the severity of the issue. Part of periodontal treatment is measuring and tracking the depths of the gum pockets, or separation of the tooth and gums. Ideally, the patient will have 3mm or less in gum pocket depth, measurements greater than 3mm is an indication of disease.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
If you suspect you have gum disease, we invite you to come in and have your teeth and gums checked. Often a deep cleaning through scaling and root planing is the answer. If the problem requires more care, we can provide that as well. The first step is scheduling an appointment. Signs that you can look for at home include:
|Gums Seem Irritated: Does your gum tissue appear to be red, agitated, puffy or in pain? Just like an infected wound becomes irritated, so does your gum tissue.
|Gum Bleed: Gums bleed, even just a little, when brushing or flossing. Often, patients find it so common for their gums to bleed when they floss that they think it’s normal, but it is not. If you see blood on your floss or spit after you brush, this is very well a symptom of gum disease.
|Bad Breath or Sour Taste: If your breath just always smells or tastes sour, this could be a sign that infection is present.
|Teeth Appear Longer: Sometimes patients will think that their teeth have grown, or note changes in how their teeth look. Our gum tissue can not fight the infection, its only recourse is to move away from the source. As the tissue pulls away from the bacteria it also pulls away from your teeth. This also pulls away the support that your teeth need to stay in place.
Choosing to not take care of the inflammation can lead to other issues such as the loss of healthy tissue, destruction to the tooth requiring extraction, and even the destruction of the supporting bone. Treating active gum disease is important, and then we can demonstrate the tools and techniques that you can apply at home to help keep the infection at bay. Our team at A Smiling Heart Dentistry is committed to providing the treatment and education for a healthier smile.
Why do I have gum disease?
Education is an important aspect of your dental care. Before discussing treatment options, it is important to understand what exactly causes gum disease.
Our mouths naturally form a material known as plaque. It is a blend of food particles and saliva, and it is actually a natural cleaning method. Plaque accumulates and settles on the rim of the teeth along the gumline. Bacteria naturally finds its way into this plaque and then happily feeds on the sugars of the food particles. As it feeds, it emits an acid that erodes enamel and irritates the gums. Our gum tissue can not fight it, so it pulls away from the irritating source, which also means that the gums pull away from our teeth. We don’t want this; this is bad for our teeth.
We can remove the bacteria and help your gum tissue recover and heal. For more information contact our Bellevue office at: (425) 558-9998.