When most people think about maintaining a healthy mouth, they tend to focus on the teeth. While your teeth are important, taking care of your gums is just as critical. Over half of Americans are dealing with some form of gum, or periodontal, disease. When gum disease develops, treatment is needed right away. Without it, your oral health, the quality of your smile, and your quality of life can suffer significantly. Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry can help you to maintain healthy gums with a periodontal exam.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a condition that results from a bacterial infection in your mouth. Bacteria attack your gums, leading to irritation. This irritation triggers an inflammatory response that causes your gums to swell. Eventually, the gums begin to pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of periodontal pockets.
Bacteria can collect in these pockets, where they attack your gums from the inside. The pockets grow deeper, giving bacteria access to your jawbone. Bacteria attack your jawbone and periodontal ligaments, which causes these supporting structures to weaken. Your jawbone loses bone mass, and your teeth become unstable. Ultimately, gum disease can result in gum recession, loose teeth, and tooth loss.
What is a Periodontal Exam?
A periodontal exam is a type of exam that is performed to assess the condition of your gum tissue. The exam allows us to determine the presence of gum disease, how far it has advanced, and what the best treatments are.
During a periodontal exam, we assess the amount of plaque, tartar, and bacterial buildup on the surfaces of your teeth. Your teeth are checked for mobility, and we can assess your jaw for any bone loss. Your gums are also checked over for inflammation and recession.
An integral part of your periodontal exam is the measurement and tracking of periodontal pockets. When your gums are healthy, they are attached firmly to your teeth. Typically, healthy teeth are no deeper than 3 millimeters in depth, and they do not bleed when you brush and floss. If your pockets are deeper than 4 millimeters and bleed when you brush and floss, this is an indication that gum disease is present. The deeper the pockets, the more advanced your gum disease is. We take measurements at 6 points around your teeth. This gives us a good idea as to the extent of your gum disease and also helps us to determine the best treatment to meet your needs.
Why are Periodontal Exams Important?
Gum disease does more than just affect the health of your mouth. Advanced gum disease can also have a significant impact on the health of your entire body as well. Those with gum disease are at a much higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory issues, and complications during pregnancy. For these reasons and many more, regular periodontal exams are crucial. By spotting the early signs of gum disease, we can provide you with the prompt treatment you need to prevent the issue from growing worse. This not only restores your oral health but also helps to protect your whole-body health as well.
Periodontal exams are a critical part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you have any questions regarding periodontal exams or want to schedule your appointment, call Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry at (623) 562-5230 today.