Periodontal Examinations and Treatment
What is a basic periodontal examination?
A basic periodontal examination is an assessment that is quick to carry out and gives Dr. Roulston a clear indication of your periodontal health status and will determine the most suitable treatment options for your preventative care visits. It will usually involve a radiographic analysis, periodontal probing, and provide a basic evaluation of the amount of attached gingiva.
What are some of the early warning signs of gum disease?
Although this list is not exhaustive, some of the early signs of periodontal disease include:
- Gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Tender gums
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Loosening Teeth
What are the four stages of periodontal disease?
In Americans aged 30 and over, periodontal disease impacts around 50% of people. It can result in a range of health concerns, with tooth loss being one of the most common. Due to the impact gum disease can have, it should be treated as a serious condition. There are four core stages of the disease, and only one of these is reversible.
Stage 1 – Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible. This is because, at this stage, it has not yet started an attack on the bone. It is caused by a build-up of plaque from around the teeth. There are only a number of signs of gum disease present, many of which are painless. Bad breath, redness, and swelling of the gums are some of the early indicators to watch out for. Reversal of gingivitis can be accomplished by improving oral hygiene practices (flossing and brushing), professional dental cleanings, and routine check-ups.
Stage 2 – Slight Periodontal Disease
The second stage of periodontal disease is not reversible, but it is manageable. At this stage, the infection has reached the bone, and the bone-destroying process has already started. Bacteria, if left, will become more aggressive, and oral hygiene measures alone will not suffice. The redness and swelling will increase, bad breath is almost a certainty, blood when brushing or flossing is also a high probability.
Stage 3 – Moderate Periodontal Disease
As with the second stage of gum disease, this cannot be reversed. The symptoms are the same as with stage 2; however, the pocket depths between the teeth and gum tissue are greater, at anything between 6-7mm.
For both stage 2 and stage 3 gum disease, scaling and root planing are the most effective forms of treatment. Also known as SRP, this is essentially a deep cleaning process that aims to remove deeply rooted bacteria from the gums. If not treated correctly, bone and tooth loss are a near-certainty, as is the shifting of teeth, increased bleeding, and a higher sensitivity of the gums.
Stage 4 – Advanced Periodontal Disease
As the final stage of gum disease, this occurs with deep infection and the advanced development of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. In addition to the high risk of bone loss, your gums could be regularly oozing pus, your teeth will become loose, your gums will also be red and swollen, and you may find the simple act of chewing to be painful.
At this stage, periodontal laser treatment or periodontal surgery are the only two viable treatment options. If not treated correctly, tooth loss, gum recession, gaps between the teeth, other health issues, and a need for dentures are all likely side-effects.
Rapid treatment is paramount for the later stages of periodontal disease. If you would like to discuss a worsening problem with your gums or get an initial diagnosis to see what stage your gums are at, please contact a member of our team to book an appointment with Dr. Roulston.