How to Tell if You Have Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is an infection of the gum tissues. It’s caused by an excessive amount of calculus buildup surrounding the teeth and gums and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in Mesa, AZ.

If not treated, this condition gets worse over time and can be detrimental to your overall health. Not only does advanced periodontal disease cause tooth loss, but the bacteria that it causes in your mouth can spread into your bloodstream and increase your risk of things like heart disease and stroke, among others.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Though some people are more susceptible to developing this disease, it is preventable.  Periodontitis occurs from a lack of improperly removing the plaque around your teeth and gums.

Plaque sticks to your teeth daily but should be getting removed regularly by brushing and flossing. If plaque is left on your teeth for more than about 24 hours, it hardens into what’s called tartar, which is also known as calculus.  This buildup is so hard that no amount of brushing will ever remove it.

Since it’s likely that they are certain areas in your mouth that are difficult to clean, having a certain amount of calculus is normal.  To eliminate the buildup, you need to visit your Mesa dentist every six months for a professional cleaning. This process keeps your gums healthy and aids in preventing gum disease. If you allow calculus to accumulate on your teeth, it will, in fact, cause periodontitis.

Signs of Gum Disease

The following are signs that may indicate you have some form of gum disease:

  • Your gum tissue is bright red, appears puffy, and is tender to the touch
  • Gums bleed when you brush or floss
  • You have persistent bad breath
  • You see calculus buildup on your teeth
  • The bone around your tooth’s roots has deteriorated
  • Your teeth have shifted over time
  • Your teeth are loose
  • Your teeth are sore and painful
  • Pus comes out of the gum tissue next to your teeth
  • Your teeth are falling out on their own

Stages of Gum Disease

There are different levels of gum disease, gingivitis is the mildest form and is reversible. Moderate and advanced periodontitis means that the calculus buildup has pushed its way underneath the gum, where the bacteria have destroyed the jaw bone that holds the roots of your teeth in place.

Diagnosing Gum Disease

If you suspect that you have gum disease because you’re experiencing some of the above-mentioned symptoms, plan a visit with our dentist in Mesa.  During your appointment, we’ll take steps to diagnose the condition and make a plan to treat it.

Dental X-Rays

The first step to diagnosing periodontitis is to take dental X-rays of your teeth. The images will show us the calculus that is under the gums and if the bone levels have receded.


Periodontal Probing

As buildup accumulates, the gum detaches from the tooth, creating a pocket that fills with calculus, bacteria, and infection.  Our dental hygienist will take some measurements to determine the depth of these pockets in millimeters.  A healthy pocket will measure between 1 and 3 millimeters while a pocket that’s deeper than 4 millimeters signifies some type of gum disease in that area.

Based on the results of this exam and your x-rays, we can diagnose what level of periodontitis you have and make a course of action to treat it.

Treatments For Gum Disease

The following procedures are possible treatments for your periodontal disease:

Prophylaxis (preventative cleaning) This type of cleaning is for patients who have gingivitis with little to mild tartar buildup and no bone loss.

Scaling and Root Planing Scaling and root planing is how we treat most patients with gum disease.  After having your mouth gently numbed, our hygienist will use an ultrasonic water scaler that vibrates to break up the calculus buildup and flush it away.

Depending on how much calculus is present, this procedure may be split up into as many as four appointments (but typically we’ll do two visits, treating one side of the mouth at a time.)

Gum Surgery If scaling and root planing aren’t effective enough at removing all of the buildup below your gums, then we may refer you to a gum specialist for gum surgery. Typically, this procedure consists of retracting your gum tissue, removing the calculus surrounding the tooth roots, reshaping the bone if necessary, and suturing the tissue back in place.

Gum Disease Treatment in Mesa, Arizona

Do you need to be screened for gum disease? Call Eastport Dental of Mesa, Arizona today.

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