No matter how diligent you are at taking care of your teeth at home, harmful bacteria grow in your mouth that can only be removed by a dental professional. These bacteria can cause gum disease, and significantly affect your overall health. The bacteria that cause gum disease are the same as those linked to heart disease and other illnesses, and as many as 90% of adults have some form of gum disease. Your hygienist and dentist work together as co-therapists to help you manage your oral health.
Plaque is a bio-film formed by the colonies of bacteria that live in your mouth. Plaque produces an acid which is destructive to your teeth and gums unless removed.
Calculus or Tartar forms when plaque is not properly removed and the bacterial colonies calcify and mineralize into a hard substance, which then attracts more harmful bacteria.
Gingivitis is gum disease caused by bacteria that are in active, destructive state. Your gums become inflamed, swell and redden in response to the infection. To prevent advancement to periodontal disease, this condition must be aggressively treated. Blood on your toothbrush or when rinsing after brushing is a sign of gingivitis.
Periodontal Disease, also called Periodontitis, is an active infection that destroys the very foundation
of your teeth, the bone which keeps your teeth attached to your jaw. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause so much bone loss that your teeth become loose and fall out. Periodontal disease is diagnosed by measuring the depth of your gum pockets, checking for bleeding sites, and by assessing bone loss through digital x-rays and clinical observation. Periodontal disease is chronic, progressive, and episodic. While periodontal disease is irreversible, much like diabetes, it can be managed in partnership with your dental professionals.
Pockets are the spaces between your tooth and gum tissue. A healthy gum pocket is between 1-3mm in depth. Bacteria love to colonize these pockets. Pocket depths of 4 or more millimeters indicate active periodontal disease.
Bleeding when brushing or measuring the gum pockets, red, puffy gums, are the first signs of infection.