Periodontitis or gum disease not only affects dental health but can also cause problems throughout the body. The inflammation and bacteria of gum disease have been directly linked to such diseases as diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, low birth weight babies, and dementia.
Periodontal exams consist of measuring the depth of the pockets between the teeth and gums and checking for inflammation or other signs of periodontitis. Dr. Gregory’s staff charts these measurements and updates them at every visit.
If inflammation of the gum tissue is present, Dr. Gregory may recommend scaling and root planing as a first step. During this procedure, the hygienist removes plaque and tartar below the gum line. The roots of the teeth are also smoothed, enabling the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth. Home care instruction will be given and an antiseptic mouthwash may be recommended.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
- poor oral hygiene
- dental plaque
- genetic susceptibility to gum disease
- elevated stress or tension
- poor diet
- recent illness
- prior treatments for gum disease
When these risk factors are present, a periodontal maintenance program can aid in keeping gums disease-free. Periodontal care schedules are customized to meet a particular patient’s needs.