Inside a healthy mouth, your teeth are kept in place by gums, bone as well as ligaments. When plaque—a sticky layer comprised of bacteria—builds up about the teeth, it can inflame the gums, triggering them to pull away from the teeth and create pockets. These pockets enable the collection of even more harmful bacteria, and infection. This is what is called gingivitis.
Your hygienist or dentist can detect this by means of evaluating the extent of the pockets around each and every tooth. In a healthy mouth, periodontal pockets typically don't go beyond 1-3mm in deepness, while infected gum pockets are usually bigger, and tend to bleed.
Left untreated, gingivitis will inevitably turn into advanced periodontitis. The tartar and plaque building up on the gum line starts to break down the soft tissues which reinforce the teeth, and, as the condition progresses, the bone that reinforces the teeth will likely be effected also. This can result in loose teeth that may need to be extracted.
Periodontitis is treatable, fortunately, and in the early stages, can be dealt with by means of professional cleanings as well as improved home care. For those individuals with advanced gum disease, periodontists including Dr. Sazima at our Westlake, OH practice may suggest root planing and scaling. This is a deep cleaning where the root of the tooth is cleared of tartar and plaque all the way down to the lowest part the gum pocket, encouraging the gums to reattach to the tooth.
If you could be experiencing gum disease, call us at Scott Sazima, DDS to set up a consultation: (440) 835-4600