Periodontal Disease or Gum Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a very serious disease that can result in tooth loss, but it is generally painless, so you might not know you even have it. It is silently affecting over 50 million Americans, most of whom are not seeking treatment. Are you one of them?
In its early stage, it is known as Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a reversible condition if you follow a daily hygiene routine of proper brushing and flossing along with daily use of an antibacterial mouthwash.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to Periodontitis, in which the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums). When the bacterial plaque enters into these pockets, the area becomes infected. Although there isn't much pain associated with gum disease, the consequences of this affliction can be just as discomforting including:
- An unhealthy smile, in which the gums pull back from your teeth
- Offensive bad breath
- Gums that become infected and bleed
- Teeth that become loose, possibly fall out, or have to be removed
How will I be diagnosed?
Dr. Uyehara will first want to review your complete medical and/or dental history to determine whether any medications or existing conditions might affect your periodontal health. We will then perform a painless technique called periodontal probing to accurately evaluate your gums' health. A periodontal probe is a small measuring instrument that is placed in between your teeth and gums to determine the depth in millimeters of the periodontal pocket.
- A periodontal pocket of up to 3 mm is considered healthy.
- Beyond 3 mm may be a sign of gum disease.