Early diagnosis and preventive services, the foundation for lasting, healthy gums and teeth
Periodontal (gum) disease is a common and potentially devastating diagnosis. It represents one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Healthy teeth and supportive gums play a critical role in our overall health and well-being by facilitating comfortable chewing and a healthy diet and supporting self-confidence. After all, we stand a little taller when we like how we look!
Fortunately, gum disease is highly preventable. When detected and addressed early into the disease process, our team at Smile Today Dental in Glenview, Illinois, can even reverse its effects.
Early gum disease
Early-stage periodontal disease is characterized by gingival inflammation. The condition is known as gingivitis. At this stage, gums can be restored to health, and our dentists, Drs Evelyn Kidonakis, Jinyoung Yoo, and Amir Danesh, partner with patients to halt the progression of the disease and reverse the effects.
It is critical that you maintain checkups at our practice because many oral conditions (including gingivitis) are asymptomatic or “silent.” Your teeth and gums may look and feel fine, even when they are inflamed. If symptoms are present, they generally include:
- Gums that look pinker or redder than usual
- Blood on the toothbrush or floss when cleaning your teeth and gums
- Gingival swelling
- Tenderness, especially to the touch
- Halitosis (stinky breath)
If gingivitis is not treated, it progresses to periodontitis. This advanced stage of gum disease is characterized by symptoms such as:
- A foul taste
- Shifting teeth
- Wider spaces between teeth
- Problems with how the upper and lower teeth come together when closing your mouth (your “bite”)
- A “long in the tooth” appearance, which arises when the gums recede or pull away from the teeth
By the time many patients have noticeable symptoms, they may have sustained damage that cannot be reversed. Once the supporting bone and tissue are lost, it is gone for good. At this stage, patients may require regenerative techniques to build up bone and gummy tissue and prompt tooth replacement. More extensive care is generally associated with more invasive, time-consuming, and costly procedures.
Your partners in gum health
Our dental team will use a specialized instrument to measure the pockets between the teeth and gums during appointments, scheduled at least once every six months. As gum disease progresses, these spaces grow larger. So, by measuring such “periodontal pockets,” we can determine the extent of any disease that may be present. We understand your needs and can use these and other diagnostics to build a treatment plan that effectively and promptly resolves the condition. Healthy gum tissue is generally characterized by pockets that are no deeper than 3 millimetres, whereas gingivitis and mild periodontitis measure at 4 millimetres and 5 to 6 millimetres, respectively. Measurements greater than 6 millimetres and 8 millimetres, respectively, are indicative of moderate and advanced periodontitis.
Preventive services at our practice make a world of difference. Our hygienists remove what can’t be eradicated with a standard toothbrush: plaque-build that inflames the gums and erodes teeth during routine checkups. We also provide personalized recommendations for cleaning techniques, diet, and oral care products, designed to minimize or eliminate risk factors. Patients at heightened risk of gum disease will need to see us more frequently for exams and professional cleanings.
Do not delay getting into the healthy habit today. Call us at 847-440-3331 to schedule your visit.