Among the causes for periodontal (gum) disease are genetic susceptibility, smoking, and other illnesses like diabetes. Periodontal maintenance involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Most gum diseases are preventable with proper oral hygiene. However, what can start out as gingivitis (inflamed or bleeding gums) can quickly turn into periodontitis. In such cases, gums pull away from the tooth to create “pockets,” thereby exposing a dental root to infection. It can also lead to prolonged bad breath, loose teeth, painful chewing and other complications.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
Gum disease is diagnosed based on your soft tissue (gum) health and bone level. Once your bone level starts to become affected by your gum disease, you are diagnosed with periodontitis. Periodontitis is a non-reversible disease of the oral cavity and once this bone has become destroyed by gum infection, there is no way to get it back. However, we can maintain your bone level over time with periodontal treatments like scaling and root planing.
Following scaling and root planing, your gingival health will be re-evaluated. At this point it may be necessary to follow up treatment with gingival and/or bone grafts to attempt to regain lost tooth support. In most cases this is not necessary, however, it is recommended that you follow up every 3-4 months with professional cleanings so that your bone loss does not continue to progress.