The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 64 million men and women over age 18 currently have gum disease. Although extremely common, gum disease can cause serious problems without prompt intervention from Dr. Mulandi.
Fortunately, it’s easy to treat if you already have it, and is preventable if you haven’t developed it yet.
How Do Dentists Diagnose Gum Disease?
Dr. Mulandi and our hygienists examine our patient’s gums during each routine examination. This helps to reveal the presence of gum pockets four or more millimeters deep. We can also spot gum disease when part of your gum appears pulled away from the tooth. Bleeding gums is another telltale sign of gum disease.
Typically, people develop gum disease if the time between professional cleanings is too long, or because of an inconsistent home care regimen of brushing and flossing. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, can cause it as well. Pregnancy can cause gum disease and inflammation also, but this typically only lasts until the woman gives birth.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Most cases of gum disease respond well to a procedure commonly referred to as deep cleaning. The technical term is scaling and root planing (SRP).
This type of specialty cleaning may differ from what you are accustomed to at your bi-annual professional cleaning. A standard dental cleaning (prophy) cleans the outer and chewing surfaces of each tooth and between the portion of your teeth that sit above your gum line. We then polish your teeth.
SRP removes bacteria, tartar, and food debris underneath your gum line. It’s not possible to remove them with brushing and flossing alone. Nor will a regular dental cleaning reach that far.
Dr. Mulandi uses special dental instruments to remove bacteria, tartar, and debris so it doesn’t cause additional inflammation, which can lead to loose teeth, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss.
To minimize any discomfort, Dr. Mulandi typically performs this procedure over a series of appointments.
Those with more advanced gum disease may receive a referral to a periodontal specialist.