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, the disease will progress and your oral health can suffer significantly. Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry can help you to maintain healthy gums with regular periodontal exams. We offer many services to treat gum disease non-surgically at its earliest stages when there is the best chance to stabilize it. There is no cure for periodontal disease, so early diagnosis and treatment is critical to maintaining your teeth throughout your lifetime.
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 and the other supporting structures of your teeth, leading to irritation. This irritation triggers an inflammatory response that causes your gums to become swollen. Eventually, the gums begin to pull away, or detach, from your teeth, leading to the formation of periodontal pockets.
Bacteria that live deep in these pockets, produce toxins that further destroy the supporting structures of your teeth, the bone and ligaments. Left untreated, the infection continues and your teeth become unstable and start shifting. Ultimately, gum disease can result in loose teeth and tooth loss.
Gum disease is also a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, respiratory infections, high blood pressure, diabetes, pre-term delivery, and Alheimer’s disease. A recent study published in the journal Science Advances, Jan. 23, 2019, identified toxins from the bacteria, P. gingivalis, in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. P. gingivalis has also been found to have traveled to other tissues, including coronary arteries, placenta and the liver. It is important now, more than ever, to focus on having healthy gums. Please call us at 623-562-5230, if you have bleeding or swollen gums, your teeth have shifted or if you want a complete periodontal exam to find out the health of your gums.
What is a Periodontal Exam?
A periodontal exam is a type of exam that is performed to assess the condition of your gum tissue.
During a periodontal exam, we assess the amount of plaque and tartar on the surfaces of your teeth. Your teeth are checked for mobility, and we can assess your jaw for any bone loss by looking at your digital x-ray images. Your gums are also examined for inflammation, bleeding 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 gum pockets are no deeper than 3 millimeters in depth, and they do not bleed when we gently measure them. If your pockets are deeper than 4 millimeters and bleed when we measure them, 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 each tooth. In conjunction with x-rays, this gives us a good idea as to the Stage of your gum disease and also helps us to determine the best methods for treating your gum disease.