Periodontitis (gum disease) is a potentially serious, progressive condition involving bacterial infection of the gums and surrounding bone. Research shows that almost a third of the population might be genetically susceptible to periodontitis, although it is often triggered by the presence of one or more circumstances. Some cannot be prevented, including hormone fluctuations experienced during pregnancy, puberty or menopause. Other triggers are preventable, however, including using tobacco and allowing plaque and tartar to build up on the teeth. The latter is the most common cause of gum disease.
Plaque is constantly being formed, and if it's not removed from the teeth it can irritate your gums and harden into tartar (also called scale or calculus). Not only is tartar much more difficult to remove, but it also releases bacterial toxins which break down the surrounding gum tissues. The gums start separating from the teeth, creating what are known as "gum pockets" beneath the gum line. If the plaque and tartar are not removed promptly, the result is infection and gum degradation.
If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, but it can also adversely affect your overall health. It has also been connected to the presence of certain cardiovascular conditions. Unfortunately, early periodontitis can easily go unnoticed until your next dental appointment. If you suspect you have gum problems, your dentist will physically evaluate your gums for the redness, puffiness and bleeding which indicate gum inflammation. A periodontal probe is then used to determine the severity of the gum condition by measuring the depth of the gaps (gum pockets) between your teeth and your gums. Pocket depths greater than three millimeters indicate periodontal disease. Tooth mobility will also be evaluated, because loose teeth strongly indicate a loss of bone support due to periodontal disease. A series of X-rays will confirm any bone loss.
Fortunately, dental deep cleaning can remove accumulated plaque and prevent the occurrence or progression of periodontitis. The procedure includes scaling and root planning, and is typically used to treat early-stage periodontal disease.
As a Fairhope dentist we offer deep cleanings. If you think you may need a deep cleaning please give us a call at 251-550-7770