Gum disease is responsible for about 70% of adult tooth loss.
Diagnosis of gum disease requires a comprehensive periodontal examination. Dr. Stender or the hygienist will look at the texture, shape and position of your gum tissue. They will also assess bacterial plaque, bleeding, unpleasant mouth odor and loose or sensitive teeth. All of these factors give important clues to recognizing gum disease and recommending proper treatment.
Periodontal probe readings are a very important tool used to look for indicators of gum disease. The hygienist uses an instrument with markings on it to take several measurements around each tooth. This instrument measures pockets between the tooth and gum line. Readings deeper than 3 mm indicate areas of gum inflammation and/or loss of bone, which is needed to anchor your teeth. This bone loss may also be evident on X-rays.
The same tool used to measure pocket depths is also used to record gum recession, another disease indicator. Recession is measured from the gum line to the area where the root and crown of the tooth meet. Several causes of recession are age (years of normal wear and brushing), over zealous brushing and hard bristled brushes. It may also occur following gum disease treatment because the treated tissues become less inflamed and puffy and as they shrink, the gum line moves down the tooth.
Generally, healthy gums are firm, pink and do not bleed when gently probed.
Early diagnosis and treatment of infection is very important to an individual’s overall health. Heart attack, stroke, respiratory ailments and low-birth weight babies are among the health risks linked with diseases of the mouth.
Early detection of gum disease improves the treatment success rate and greatly increases the likelihood of keeping your teeth well into your senior years.