Dr. David's

Pearls of Wisdom
At every dental cleaning appointment, the hygienist should be checking for changes in your gum health. Preventing and treating periodontal disease is one of the main goals our dental providers have. By preventing periodontal disease, systemic disease is prevented as well.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is the active infection that occurs in our gums that destroys the supporting structures that keep our teeth in place. Left untreated, periodontal disease allows built-up bacteria to travel throughout the body and cause systemic diseases affecting heart and brain function.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

During a periodontal evaluation, the dentist or hygienist will use a probe to measure how deep your periodontal pockets are. The periodontal pocket is the space between the tooth and gum. Any pocket deeper than 3mm is an indication active gum disease is starting. Inflamed, swollen gum tissue that keeps bleeding even when we floss daily is another indication gum disease is present. The gums bleeding is called the inflammatory response, and our body will start this biological response to push out the infection by itself.

How do you treat periodontal disease?

The first step to treating active gum infection is to have a deep cleaning done. A deep cleaning is a more thorough dental cleaning. During a deep clean, the patient’s gum tissue is numbed and more time is spent cleaning out the deep periodontal pockets to ensure the bacteria colonies are effectively removed. A deep cleaning is necessary depending on the findings of the dentist and dental hygienist. The difference between a deep cleaning and a routine cleaning depends on how the patient presents, not the way the teeth are cleaned.

What is periodontal maintenance?

Once a patient is diagnosed with active periodontal disease and a deep cleaning is performed, periodontal maintenance cleaning visits are started every 3 months. Prior to needing a deep cleaning, you may have come in for traditional dental cleaning appointments every 6 months. 6-month cleaning appointments are indicated when the gums are healthy, and you are maintaining your oral health at home with consistent brushing and flossing. Once gum disease is spotted and treated, 6-month visits are not enough to establish gum health again. By coming in for more routine dental cleanings, the bacteria that caused the gum infection is removed more frequently and allows the body and gums to heal to their fullest potential. By not having routine cleanings done followed by a deep cleaning, the chance of the gum infection coming back is very high. Call us now at 978-779-2888 to schedule your cleaning.