80% of Americans have Gingivitis. Many do not even know it because they are not feeling constant acute pain, but without proper hygiene it will likely get worse. When someone finds out they have gingivitis and they don’t do anything about it, it’s kind of like eating fried chicken everyday for lunch and feeling good, until you have a heart attack from clogged arteries.
Gum Disease is usually gingivitis, which is reversible. If untreated it leads to Periodontal disease which is not reversible. These problems are caused when bacteria attack the supporting structure around the teeth.
Many kinds of bacteria are in our bodies in different places. We need these, they help us digest our food, for example. Bacteria can however, overwhelm our immune system in certain places and begin to multiply and invade where they shouldn’t be, like inside bone or tissue. These are infections, and infections can be mild or severe or even life-threatening. Gingivitis is an infection that untreated leads to periodontitis which can spread from one tooth to another and cause bone loss and loss of teeth. The worst form of this disease is called advanced ulcerative gingivitis, or trench mouth, which can be life-threatening.
We look for gingivitis when we examine your teeth by doing pocket readings with a dental probe at 6 specific measurement points around the mouth, and by using x-ray imaging.
Gums respond to the bacterial film around the base of the teeth by pulling away from the tooth forming a pocket. A healthy pocket near a tooth is 1 – 3 millimeters deep. A pocket that is 1 – 3 millimeters deep and that bleeds easily most often means Gingivitis. A pocket that is 4 mm and deeper means periodontal disease, with bleeding, potential bone loss and deep voids developing around the teeth.
Good hygiene can prevent and actually reverse gingivitis that is in a mild stage. A toothbrush cleans to a depth of 1 mm. Flossing can clean down to 3 mm. The problem is most people floss incorrectly, so those areas of the teeth affected by gingivitis are often not well-cleaned. Good dental hygiene means brushing thoroughly for more than a minute, twice per day, and flossing at least once a day. Floss around each tooth, so the string goes deep at the base of the tooth, and wraps around a little on the sides. Floss the front and the back of each tooth.
At Amazing Smiles we also offer deep cleaning techniques which involve exposing the tooth below the gum line and scraping away scale and plaque in those areas that need it. We also insert antibiotics into the area at the base of the tooth, so that the gums will heal and re-attach.
At Amazing Smiles we use the latest approved dental techniques, and we focus on your comfort, your health and your education. You’ll be happy with the results. These are good reasons for regular visits to our office – to enhance the beauty of your smile, and to help protect and improve your overall health.
Just remember: preventative care costs less and is easier than treatment of disease.