Diagnosis of Gum Disease

Diagnosis of Gum Disease

Have you ever worried that you are suffering from gum disease? Well, turns out your fears may be warranted. According to the National Institutes of Health currently 8-10 percent of Americans have some degree of periodontal infection. Unfortunately, most don't do anything about it. Don't become another bad statistic. Instead visit our offices for a proper diagnosis of gum disease and get treatment right away.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is an infection of the soft tissues and bone that both surround and support teeth. It is also called periodontal disease or infection. There are two phases of gum disease. The first is gingivitis, a mild form of infection that only impacts the soft tissue. The second, more severe phase occurs when infection spreads below the gumline. It damages both the tissue and bone supporting the underlying structures of your teeth.

Causes of Gum Disease

People will not usually show signs of gum disease until they reach 30 or 40, but it can manifest in a mild form in some teens and young adults. Most often the infection is caused by bacteria left to fester along the gumline in the form of plaque. This sticky combination of saliva and bacteria collects along the gums. If not removed in a timely manner it can harden into calculus or tarter, and penetrate the gumline, causing irritation. It then spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bone supporting tooth roots. Gums can begin to pull away from your teeth, teeth will loosen, and in the worst cases your teeth may even fall out.

Most Common Symptoms of Gum Disease

When to Contact Your Dentist about Gum Disease

Often the early stages of gingivitis can be reversed by upping your oral health care at home. However, if signs of gum disease are not eliminated with better at home care, you will want to contact the dentist right away. If you do not diagnose gum disease and it is left untreated the infection may not only impact your oral health, but your overall health as well.

How a Dentist Will Diagnose Gum Disease

Usually a list of symptoms will be most helpful for your dentist in diagnosing gum disease. During the exam the dentist will also look for other symptoms of gum disease like red gums, sores on the soft tissue, or swelling. Other than that, the dentist will use a periodontal probe to measure the pockets in the gums around your teeth. Healthy gums will usually measure only 1 to 3 millimeters deep. Anything beyond that commonly indicates some extent of gum disease. Lastly, a new set of x-rays will be taken to help reveal any bone loss caused by the disease.

Even at the first sign of periodontal infection, you should contact us for a diagnosis and treatment. The earlier you come in for gum disease, the less likely you are to need invasive procedures. So don’t put it off. Let us help you stay ahead of gum disease and provide necessary treatment to keep your smile healthy.

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