Gum Tissue Evaluation
West Linn, OR
Gum disease is extremely common – did you know that nearly fifty percent of American adults have some degree of this chronic and potentially deadly illness? Many people are surprised to learn how common gum disease is, and even more shocked to discover that gum disease is not just a cosmetic concern. If left untreated, it can lead to lasting complications such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and eventually death. That is why regular oral health checkups are so vital. We here at ZenTech Dentistry strongly advise gum tissue evaluations every six months, during your routine dental checkup, to help ensure your gums and teeth remain healthy against periodontal disease.
What Does a Gum Tissue Evaluation Involve?
We hope we got your attention when we mentioned how dangerous untreated gum disease is. We certainly do not want to understate how dangerous this common condition is. However, there is good news here, too. If caught early, gum disease is entirely reversible and can even be cured. Conversely, if it progresses for too long, it will manifest into a chronic illness that cannot be cured but must be managed like any other chronic disease.
Early-stage gum disease is also known as gingivitis. When plaque, the sticky residue that is made up of bacteria, lingers on your teeth and gum line for too long, they will start to attack your gums and dental enamel. These bacteria not only cause tooth decay (caries or cavities), but they can also cause an infection in your gums. This is the start of gingivitis.
Removing this plaque from your teeth is key to preventing gum disease. You must brush your teeth for twice a day, for two minutes per session. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. You must also floss afterward, using an 18-inch segment of floss. Use a clean portion of floss per tooth, and make sure you work the floss up under your gum line to remove all buildup.
Early stage gum disease is not painful, which is why regular dental checkups are so important. Signs that you may have gingivitis or gum disease may include red or swollen gums. If you start to notice bleeding in your saliva after you brush or floss your teeth, that can also be a clue that you have gum disease. A foul taste in your mouth or bad breath (halitosis) can also indicate that you have gum disease. Lastly, you may start to notice that your gums are receding. Once you start to notice gum recession, that may mean that the disease is progressing further into advanced-stage gum disease, known as periodontitis.
During a gum tissue evaluation, we may start by cleaning your teeth and gums. We may also take X-rays. You may hear us reading off numbers as we press our dental pick against your gums; those numbers are the depth of your periodontal pockets. If you hear some 3 or less, then that may mean that you do not have receding gums. Anything higher, though, can be a clue that you have gum disease.
Gum Health is Crucial for a Healthy Mouth
It is critical that you see us every six months for a checkup and cleaning. If we detect any signs of gum disease during your appointment, we can start you on a treatment plan for it. This may include antibiotics for the active infection, scaling, and a root planing to help remove any buildup, and even gum graft surgery. For severely infected teeth, we may have to perform a root canal to save the infected tooth.
To learn more about gum tissue evaluations and gum disease, please give us here at ZenTech Dentistry a call at (503) 765-9699 today!