Periodontal Disease, commonly known as Gum Disease, is diagnosed by Dr. Morrison during a periodontal examination, which is part of your regular dental check-up. A periodontal probe (a small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the pocket or space between the tooth and the gums as well as determine any bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility or gum irritation. If gum disease is present Dr. Morrison will recommend treatment based on the severity of disease.
If the periodontal disease is caught in the early stages, and no damage has been done, Dr. Morrison may recommend one to two addition hygiene visits. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings. Dr. Morrison may also recommend other changes to support your oral health.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, dietary changes, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and promote healing.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, Dr. Morrison will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.
If left untreated, periodontal disease progresses as the space between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth. In addition to affecting your oral health, periodontal disease can have a detrimental affect on your overall health, as well - it is linked to a range of disease including cancers, stroke, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have periodontal disease, we will work with you to make sure you follow the recommended treatment and practice good oral hygiene - both are essential in maintaining dental and overall health.