There are many questions you may have when discussing periodontal or gum disease and the treatment we recommend. We have great resources available to you online to research like this, ADA’s brochure on preventing periodontal disease or this ADA’s Brochure on Treating Periodontal Disease. But sometimes it is easier to explain in the simplest terms.
As a hygienist, I was trained to focus on my patient’s gum and bone health by recognizing signs of gum disease and use that knowledge to appropriately treat to my best ability. My goal is for you to have a healthy and disease-free mouth!
Why can’t I just have my teeth cleaned?
A “regular” dental cleaning to us is known as a dental prophylaxis or prophy. By definition, a dental prophy is to PREVENT disease. Typically only performed on a healthy mouth at regular intervals such as 2, 3, or 4 times a year depending on your needs. We find some patients need more frequent cleanings to maintain a healthy mouth.
Signs of a HEALTHY mouth include:
- Flat, firm, pink gums
- Measurements around the tooth all are 1-3 mm, without bleeding
- No gum or bone loss
At this stage gum disease is considered gingivitis and is the only REVERSIBLE form of gum disease. Depending on the severity of the gingivitis we may recommend gingival therapy. Gingival therapy includes a treatment called a Full Mouth Debridement to remove bulky tartar and disrupt plaque followed by a prophy 4-6 weeks later. Treating gingivitis in two appointments allows me to thoroughly clean around the gums to allow your body and gums to heal.
You have gum disease
The first signs of gum DISEASE include:
- Inflammation that can make the gums appear red and puffy
- Measurements around the teeth may include 4 and 5 mm that will bleed during examination
- No gum or bone loss caused by bacteria and toxins (plaque) that hide around hardened deposits (tartar)
After the gingival therapy daily removal of bacteria along with “regular” dental cleanings will usually maintain a healthy mouth!
I would love to spend some time going over these, and other tools you can use one on one with you during your hygiene appointments! Call me at (207) 236-4740.