If you think you have gum disease, you probably do. And that’s okay. It’s one of the most common diseases in the world, and treatment is often easy and painless. The longer you wait to take action, however, the longer it will be until your condition is under control or cured.
To decide if you have periodontal disease, our dental team here at Brighton Dental in San Diego will do several things, including:
Get to know your medical history. This includes factors that could contribute to any symptoms you’re experiencing. Smoking and some medications can cause dry mouth which can lead to gum disease, for example. And there are other factors that may come into play as well.
Look for tartar and plaque buildup. This can cause pockets which can allow bacteria to settle in and cause bleeding, one of the first signs of periodontal disease. Before bleeding starts, there may be no visible signs of gum disease and no pain or discomfort.
Measure pocket depth. It’s important to know how deep the openings between your teeth and gums are, and we can determine this by inserting a painless dental probe beside your tooth in several sites inside your mouth. A depth of 1, 2 or 3 millimeters is just fine. If the depth is more than 4 millimeters, you may have a problem with gum disease. A pocket of 6 millimeters is so deep you can’t clean it very well at home.
Take some x-rays. These low-dose dental x-rays can help us see if there’s any loss of bone around the areas where we found deep pockets. Exactly what treatment we recommend depends on whether there’s already bone loss or not.
Once we understand what’s going on, we can treat you to restore oral and overall health. Treatment for gum disease can be done by a special dentists call a periodontist, by Dr. Woods or by a dental hygienist – depending on what kind of treatment you need. In all cases, the goal is to clean and reduce the size of pockets and keep the bone in these locations from being damaged by the disease. When combined with good care at home, our treatment is successful in most cases.
Non-surgical treatments that may be necessary include:
• Scaling to get rid of bacteria and tartar below the gum line. It could be done with metal instruments, an ultrasonic device or a laser.
• Root planing to smooth the root surface and discourage tartar and bacteria from building up. Gums can reattach better and pockets can get smaller after planing.
• Treatment with antibiotics. Sometimes necessary and sometimes not, antibiotics have their place in controlling some types of bacterial infections in the mouth and could include rinses, gels or oral antibiotics.
In some cases, surgery may eventually be necessary. This could include pocket reduction surgery, bone re-contouring due to bone loss and soft tissue grafting. But most people with gum disease never need to have these things done if they take good care of themselves and their mouths.
At Brighton Dental in San Diego, Dr. Paige Woods and our oral health team are in business to treat existing issues and prevent new ones, and we’re here to help you. Why not contact us now and learn about gentle, biocompatible and holistic dentistry from Brighton Dental?
There are many pages about periodontal disease on this website, including our Periodontal Disease Diagnosis page. Take a look at them to learn more. Or simply schedule an appointment and let us tell you which problems you have and which you don’t. Then we can work as a team toward sensible solutions.