How Do You Know If You Have a Gum Disease
If you’re over age 35, there’s a fifty percent chance you have periodontal (gum) disease—and you may not even know it. Without treatment, this often “silent” bacterial infection could cause you to lose your gum, supporting bone of your teeth or eventually your teeth. The surest way to know if you have gum disease, as well as how advanced it is, is to have your gum examined by a Gum Specialist called ‘’Periodontist’’.
Gum Disease Diagnosis
Using a long metal device called a periodontal probe, Dr.Miski can detect if you’ve developed periodontal pockets. These are gaps created when the diseased gum’s attachment( Gum, bone & ligaments) to teeth has weakened and begun to pull away. The increased void may become inflamed (swollen) and filled with infection.
During an exam, Dr.Miski inserts a probe, which has markings indicating depths in millimeters, into the naturally occurring space between tooth and gums called the sulcus. Normally, the sulcus extends only about 1-3 mm deep, so probing deeper is a sign of a periodontal pocket. How deep the probe can enter, it also tells us about the extent of the infection: if we can probe to 5 mm, you may have early to mild gum disease; 5-7 mm indicates moderate gum disease; and anything deeper is a sign of advanced disease. As the disease progresses, the pockets become deeper and the treatments become more extensive, more expensive and more time-consuming. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.
Treatment Plan Strategy
Knowing periodontal pocket depth helps guide the treatment plan strategy. The main goal is to remove bacterial plaque, which is a thin film of bacteria that collects on teeth and is the main cause of gum disease infection. In mild to moderate cases this may only require the use of hand instruments called scalers to manually remove plaque from tooth surfaces. However, if periodontal probing indicates deeper, advanced gum disease, it may need to include surgical procedures to access these infected areas through the gum tissue. By knowing the depth and extent of any periodontal pockets, Dr.Miski can determine whether or not to use surgical or non-surgical techniques.
Like many other health conditions, discovering gum disease as early as possible could help you avoid these more advanced procedures and limit the damage caused by the infection. Besides daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and regular dental checkups, keep watch for signs of swollen or bleeding gums and contact us for an appointment as soon as possible. And be aware that if you smoke, your gums will not likely bleed or swell—that could mask the disease and make diagnosis more challenging.
Your Gum Care is in Your Hands
Often, it’s the choice you make every day that can lead to periodontal disease. You may have begun to skip brushing in the morning because you were in a rush to get out, or at night because you were so tired. You may be using a toothbrush that is more than three months old and its bristles are not as effective. You may not be flossing every day, so bacteria (plaque) builds up between your teeth and under your gum line, attaching to the root surface. After only 48 hours, the plaque can calcify and will be there until you have your teeth cleaned again, said Dr. Miski, a periodontist with more than 20 years of experience who practices Dentistry in Dubai.
Here is an illustration of a healthy mouth. Clinical findings include 0-3 mm sulcus, no bone loss, pink and firm gums, no bleeding on probing and no root exposure. A dentist or hygienist typically can perform a routine cleaning.
Gum Disease Classification
Here is an illustration of a mouth with gingivitis. Clinical findings include up to 4 mm pockets, red, swollen gums, bleeding on probing, inflammation, possibly plaque and calculus present, but no bone loss and no root exposure. This is the only kind of periodontal disease that is reversible, and a dentist or hygienist typically can perform a routine cleaning. In some cases, a more aggressive cleaning , such as a debridement, may need to be performed, especially if you do not floss or have not seen a dentist on a regular basis. A second cleaning may then be indicated to attain periodontal health .
Mild Chronic Periodontitis ( Irreversible)
Clinical findings include 4-6 mm pockets, and could include bleeding on probing, pus present, plaque and calculus present, slight root exposure, bone loss and slight clinical attachment loss. The patient’s treatment plan typically requires Scaling and Root planing and adjunctive medications / laser treatments and may require the patient to return more frequently for treatment.
Moderate Chronic Periodontitis (Irreversible)
Clinical findings include 5-6 mm pockets, red, swollen gums, and could include bleeding on probing, pus present, plaque and calculus present, moderate root exposure, bone loss, moderate clinical attachment loss and loose teeth. The patient’s treatment plan typically requires Scaling and Root planing and adjunctive medications / laser treatments and may require the patient to return more frequently for treatment. Some teeth may not respond to this treatment and a referral to a periodontist, a gum specialist, may be indicated.
Advanced Periodontitis (Irreversible)
Clinical findings include 6 mm or greater pockets, red, swollen gums, and could include bleeding on probing, pus present, plaque and calculus present, severe root exposure, bone loss, severe clinical attachment loss and loose teeth. The patient’s treatment plan typically requires Scaling and Root planing and adjunctive medications / laser treatments and may require the patient to return more frequently for treatment. The patient needs to see a periodontist for treatment due to the advanced nature of bone loss.