Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)
Gum disease can happened to anyone at any age, but as we get older we are more at risk.
Gum disease is when the germs in your mouth silently attack the bone under the gum line, causing the bone to dissolve away. Eventually the teeth get infected and loose. If caught early it can be treated conservatively and controlled. Here are some examples of different stages of how we test for gum disease:
Gums Look Ok
The gums here do not look bad. When the dentist or hygienist uses a periodontal probe to measure under the gum line you can see how far down it goes indicating bone loss and advanced gum disease! Adults must go for professional evaluations of their gums and cleanings at least 2 – 4 times a year.
Probe Will Measure
Make sure you know your pocket numbers. They should be 2-3 mili-meters deep with NO bleeding when they measure under the gum line. There are six measurements per tooth. Adults have 28 teeth so there are 168 points to measure. More than 10 pockets over 4 mm deep (a little more than 1/8th inch) that bleed when they measure, means that you have gum disease. Make sure that you know your numbers at every dental exam. What you do not know can hurt a lot!
Bone Loss Evident
If you do have gum pockets and bleeding you need more than just cleanings. You need gum treatments at the dental office and better home care methods at home.
Receding Gum Line
In this x-ray the dotted line shows where the bone level should be in a healthy condition. Now you can see that due to the inflammation of periodontal disease, the bone has been damaged. As the bone level recedes, more germs and plaque will accumulate, leading to even more bone loss and the teeth getting loose and failing.
At this point it is essential to get professional periodontal treatment to prevent tooth loss.