Some patients need extra treatment to achieve clean teeth and optimal gum health. We offer periodontal therapy, also known as gum infection therapy or deep cleanings, for patients whose dental conditions require it.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection affecting the gums and bone around one tooth or multiple teeth, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have estimated that half of American adults have some degree of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss as the surrounding gums and bone deteriorate. Correlations have also been found between periodontal disease and other serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
To assess and diagnose gum disease, the Paragon Dentistry team will measure clinical gum pockets, as well as evaluate x-rays to screen for radiographic bone loss.
Measuring Pocket Depths
The cartoon above depicts the act of gum pocket depth measurement. The image to the farthest left reveals healthy gums and bone levels. The two images in the middle respectively reflect mild and moderate gum disease. The image to the farthest right reveals severe gum disease. Notice the significant amount of bone loss; the dental instrument is fully immersed into the gums, generating a deep pocket depth reading.
The image in Figure 1 reveals healthy bone levels, as depicted by the white arrows. Figure 2 reveals x-rays of a patient with gum disease. Notice how the bone levels are much lower as a consequence of bone loss and more root surfaces are exposed. The red lines in Figure 2 actually depict the amount of bone loss, as these surfaces are supposed to be fully covered by bone (as in Figure 1). The deep cleaning procedure will target these exposed root surfaces under the gums and remove plaque, tartar, and all bacteria associated with these surfaces. If these exposed tooth surfaces are not thoroughly deep cleaned, the bacteria colonizing these areas will continue to cause further bone loss. The more bone that is lost, the looser the teeth become.
After Your Deep Cleaning
After completing your deep cleaning procedure, you will be reappointed for a periodontal reevaluation in 4-6 weeks. During this visit, we will re-measure your gum pockets to assess improvement. Assuming that improvement results (and it almost always improves), we will place you on a 3-4 month maintenance cleaning schedule. It is important to understand that once bone is lost, it will never grow back; consequently, those exposed root surfaces under the gums will always be present. The purpose of seeing you every 3-4 months thereafter for maintenance cleanings is to ensure cleanliness under the gums on these exposed surfaces that the toothbrush and floss cannot access. If properly maintained, patients generally do not have to undergo a deep cleaning ever again because this strict maintenance regimen prevents buildup from accumulating and hardening.
If you have, or suspect that you have gum disease, please contact us! Your health is our top priority.