Each year, our dental team provides a periodontal probing for every one of our adult patients. A periodontal probing helps us to diagnose what stage, if any, of periodontal disease you are experiencing. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the major cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world. The measurements gathered from the probing help Dr. Steven Driggers, Dr. Samuel Driggers and our hygienists detect and determine the health of the gums and bones that support the teeth. In healthy mouths, the probing measurements in shallow gum pockets will measure 1 to 3 mm deep and the gums will be tight, pink in color and free from bleeding.
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of food debris and bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and gums. These bacteria, if not properly removed through daily flossing and brushing, create toxins that can damage the teeth and gums. In the first stage of periodontal disease (gingivitis), the probing measurements in gum pockets are 3 to 4 mm, and the gums themselves become red and swollen and tend to bleed easily. At this stage, the gingivitis is still reversible because the health of the bone has not been jeopardized. Disease may be eliminated by a thorough dental cleaning as well as by practicing good oral hygiene at home and attending regular check-ups at our office.
When left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more advanced stage of periodontal disease, which triggers your body’s immune system to “destroy” bone and gum attachment. This stage of periodontal disease (periodontitis) results in the serious and permanent damage of the gums and bone that support the teeth. In a moderate stage, gum pockets measure 5 to 7 mm, and the gums are flabby and loose with moderate bleeding. Bad breath is not uncommon at this stage. In the advanced stage of periodontal disease, gum pockets will measure 7 mm or more. Gums will severely bleed, pus will be present, the teeth will be looser and bad breath will not go away. At this stage, periodontal surgery is required to halt the progression of periodontal disease and prevent the need for tooth extraction. Sonshine Family Dental provides laser periodontal surgery (LANAP®) in place of traditional periodontal surgery to help you have a more comfortable experience.
For more information on gum disease treatment in Avon, Indiana, and to schedule your appointment with our experienced dentists, please call us today at 317-271-1330.