How Do I Know If I Have Periodontal Disease?

Grand Rapids Dentists

How Do I Know If I Have Periodontal Disease?

700 400 Grand Rapids MI Dentist

Gum Disease Dentist Grand Rapids, MIAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of Americans age 30 and older have periodontal disease. Are you one of them?

Since many people don’t show signs of gum disease until it’s too late, it’s important that you see one of our Grand Rapids dentists every 6 months for a teeth cleaning and oral examination. Our dentists are able to spot periodontal disease symptoms and offer scaling and root planing to help mitigate its damaging effects to your smile.

Here’s what you need to know about how gum disease is diagnosed and the various stages to look out for.

How We Diagnose Gum Disease

We use a small dental instrument to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. Three millimeters or less is the depth of healthy sulcus. Having deep gum pockets around teeth could mean you have gum disease. People with periodontal disease tend to have receding gums that pull away from their teeth and expose the roots.

During your appointment, we’ll use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, and tooth mobility to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:

  • Gingivitis
    Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and more likely to bleed. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene and seeing one of our dentists every 6 months for a teeth cleaning. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily to keep dental plaque and tartar buildup at bay.
  • Periodontitis
    Plaque hardens into tartar. As tartar and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present. Once gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, it can’t be cured, only managed.

What Happens When Periodontal Disease Becomes Advanced?

Unfortunately, the teeth will lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

One of the best ways to treat gum disease is to schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. Our dentists have experience treating patients with mild to severe gum disease. We can perform a thorough oral examination and determine whether a simple teeth cleaning or more in-depth procedure is needed.

Scaling and Root Planing

While periodontal disease isn’t reversible, there are still things we can do to slow its progression. For example, scaling and root planing is done to remove plaque and tartar that collects in the gum pockets around your teeth.

One of our dentists then smooths out the tooth roots, which can help gums reattach to teeth so the roots aren’t left exposed. If you suspect you have periodontal disease, don’t hesitate to call our office. Our dentists will be able to come up with a plan that includes periodontal disease treatment to help protect your oral health as much as possible.

Our Dentists Can Help

Our dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, want to help you maintain a healthy smile, even after being diagnosed with periodontal disease. To schedule a teeth cleaning or gum disease treatment with GR Family Dental, call (616) 455-3020 or contact us online.

This blog post has been updated.