January 7, 2016

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Patricia Saxon here, hygienist at Boulder Dental Arts. We’re going to talk about Periodontal Disease today. How do you know if you have it? You need to come to us to find out! But there are a few things that you will notice:

Gingivitis Causes Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease has been around for years. We used to call it Pyrea or gum disease, but its true dental name is Periodontitis. And over the last twenty years we have come a long way as far as knowing what causes it, how to get rid of it, and how to treat it. What I know is that the precursor to Periodontal Disease is Gingivitis.

Gingivitis is 100% curable, and is only in the soft tissues of your mouth. Your gums will look red; the tissue between your teeth – called papillae – will be swollen and red. Typically, if you are brushing up underneath the gum, as soon as the toothbrush bristle hits them they’re going to burst!  We have thousands of capillaries in our gums, and when they’re inflamed – just like any other “itis” in the body – that organ swells. So do our gums.

Do I have Gingivitis? Is it curable?

So how do you know if you have gingivitis? Well, take a look in the mirror. If your gums are red and puffy, then you likely have Gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by plaque, which accumulates every twenty minutes in our mouths whether you eat or not.

How do you get rid of gingivitis, and is it curable? Absolutely! It’s 100% curable. Revisit our Gum Brushing 101 video for more information!

Treating Gingivitis and Recognizing Periodontitis

We don’t ignore Gingivitis because we absolutely, unequivocally know that it is the precursor to Periodontal Disease. If left untreated it will lead to Periodontitis. So we’re very active in treating Gingivitis!

We do a Periodontal Evaluation for all of our new patients during their first visit, and once a year for our returning patients. If you have already been diagnosed with Periodontitis, you will have a Periodontal Evaluation every time you visit us.

Treatment of Gingivitis is done with a full mouth debridement and proper brushing. If your Gingivitis was left untreated and has now gone into Periodontitis, how do you know if you have it? Again, you’re going to probably see the same things: papillae that are swollen, red gums that bleed when touched.

Periodontal Evaluation

It is imperative that you come in for the Periodontal Evaluation, which includes a panoramic x-ray which will allow all of us to visibly see the bone level of your teeth. Periodontitis is not curable. Once we have treated you for Periodontis, it is maintainable with the Gum Brushing 101 technique. It is extremely important to be diagnosed properly and find out what stage of Gingivitis/Periodontitis you’re in so we can tailor our treatment to you specifically.

Gum Probing

After the panoramic x-ray is taken, we will do a probing. We take six readings on each tooth – three on the outside and three on the inside. The numbers one, two, and three are fine as long as there are no bleeding points. Bleeding points tell us there is active infection in the gum, and we denote them on each tooth in any place that we see them. Our probe goes to twelve millimeters – and at about seven or eight we know that you’re an advanced periodontal patient!

Detect it Early!

But early detection is so important. Come in and let us do a Periodontal Evaluation for you! Fours, fives, and even sixes can be totally reversed. We can’t bring back the bone level that you will have lost if you have Periodontal Disease. However, we can get the ligaments to heal up at a higher level so that you can manage at home – on a daily basis – the Periodontitis that you have.