Gum disease or Periodontal Disease causes about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. Swollen, inflamed and painful gums are a sign you may have gum disease. The good news is that if found early most gum disease is reversible. If teeth and gums are not properly cleaned and cared for regularly at home by brushing and flossing, or checked by a professional hygienist and dentist, plaque builds up inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tarter that is very difficult to remove. Over time, the bacteria in the plaque and tarter eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. If left untreated, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
Gum disease is diagnosed by a trained hygienist by measuring the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimeters in depth are considered unhealthy and will generally require treatment.
How is gum disease treated?
First of all, gum disease is prevented by regular dental checkups and proper brushing and flossing at home. If gum disease does develop it is treated by carefully removing the bacteria and substance that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this microscopic material requires specialized skill and training using special tools.
This process may require more than one visit to our office to successfully remove all of the bacteria and tartar. Once the bacteria have been removed, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis by a dental hygienist. Otherwise, the bacteria will return.
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