Gum disease is an infection of the gum and bone surrounding your teeth. It is also referred to as periodontitis and periodontal disease. It is important to understand gum disease is treatable and can be stopped, but the negative effects cannot be reversed. This is why it is so crucial for you to maintain healthy gums by visiting our office on a regular basis.
If you let gum disease go untreated, it can have permanent consequences on both your oral and physical health. Our team at Quarry Hill Family Dental will help diagnose and treat this disease at its earliest stage.
Gum Disease Symptoms
It's important to diagnose and treat gum disease as soon as possible. In most cases you will notice one or several of the following symptoms:
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Gum sensitivity
- Red swollen gums
- Recession of gums around your teeth
How Is Gum Disease Diagnosed?
Dr. Jarrett uses several tools when evaluating the health of your gums. First, she charts the gum health surrounding each tooth. To do this, she measures the distance in millimeters between the bone that holds your tooth in place and the visible end of the gum tissue.
We need to be sure this distance is between 1 and 3 millimeters, so bacteria does not have a place to sit. Any area past 3 millimeters allows bacteria to harm your gums and bone because you are not able to reach and clean this area at home with a toothbrush or floss.
The second tool she uses is x-rays. When examining your x-rays, Dr. Jarrett looks at the bone health around each tooth and also check for signs of tartar on the roots of your teeth.
How We Treat Gum Disease
When diagnosed with gum disease, it is critical to start treatment right away. If your gum disease goes untreated, there are irreversible consequences that can occur including:
- Severe gum recession
- Bone loss which results in the loss of teeth
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Inflamed and very sensitive gums
Scaling and Root Planing
Except for the most severe cases where immediate extractions are needed, the first step for treatment of gum disease is to have scaling and root planing completed. At times you may have heard this called a “deep cleaning”, but it is much more than a regular cleaning.
Since your gums will be very sensitive, your comfort during treatment is our priority. Dr. Jarrett will completely numb the area being treated as you lay back to watch one of our overhead TVs. Due to the time needed for treatment and necessity of being numb, your treatment will be broken into two appointments.
During scaling and root planing, Dr. Jarrett cleans and smoothes the roots of your teeth. By removing the bacteria in this area, our team helps stop the infection in your gums and bone.
Several weeks later Dr. Jarrett will evaluate how your gums responded to the treatment. She will discuss what type of maintenance treatment is needed or if she recommends seeing a specialist.
After scaling and root planing, you will be seen at our office every 3 or 4 months to have periodontal maintenance completed. This treatment will replace your regular cleanings until your gums get back to full health.
During treatment, our team will perform a less intense version of scaling and root planing. If there are any areas in your gums that are 4 millimeters or greater, they will focus on cleaning out these areas since your toothbrush and floss at home cannot reach those depths. It is important to visit our Rochester, MN office regularly, so your gum disease does not progress.
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease before or are concerned about the health of your gums, call Quarry Hill Family Dental to set up an appointment with Dr. Jarrett today!