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Diagnosing and Preventing Periodontal Disease

Inadequate brushing and poor flossing habits usually cause periodontal disease. It’s an infection of the gingiva or mucosal tissue, known as gums, that hold your teeth in place. In its advanced stages, the condition can result in painful chewing and even tooth loss. Some of the common symptoms of periodontal disease include persistent bad breath and tender, bleeding gums. Other signs are red, swollen gums, receding gums, and sensitive teeth. To diagnose this condition, you can expect your dentist to:


Analyze Your Medical History


Reviewing your medical background is vital. This helps your dentist identify risk factors that may be contributing to your symptoms. These include smoking tobacco, diabetes, or taking certain medicines.


Examine Your Oral Cavity


Your dentist will inspect your mouth to look for plaque and tartar buildup. They will also examine it to spot any signs of inflammation or easy bleeding. They will also use a periodontal probe in your mouth. It’s a small, narrow dental tool designed to measure the gingival sulcus. This is the pocket depth around a tooth or the natural space between the tooth’s surface and the surrounding gums. A healthy sulcus is three millimeters deep or less and should not bleed. The probe will help your dentist determine if the sulcus is deeper than three millimeters. Pocket depths usually get deeper as your periodontal disease progresses. Pockets deeper than four millimeters usually indicate periodontitis.


Take Dental Imaging Tests


Pockets deeper than five millimeters are difficult to clean well. Your dentist will take dental radiographs to check for any signs of bone loss in those areas where they found deeper pockets. Your dentist will make a diagnosis depending on several factors. These include pocket depths, amount of bleeding, the severity of inflammation, tooth mobility, and more. They will assign a stage and a particular grade to your periodontitis. Usually, the diagnosis will fall into one of three categories: gingivitis, periodontitis, or advanced periodontitis. The assignment will depend on various factors. These include the severity of your gum disease, the complexity of treatment required, your risk factors, and overall health.


Ways to Prevent Periodontal Disease


It’s impossible to completely reverse the adverse effects of periodontitis and the severe stages of periodontal disease. That’s why you must be able to spot symptoms of gum disease and address them as soon as possible. Practicing good dental hygiene every day plays a huge role in removing plaque and tartar and preventing buildup, especially in hard-to-reach places in your mouth.


The National Institutes of Health provides some helpful tips to keep your gums and teeth healthy. These include brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth regularly. You may also use other similar devices like a water flosser. Equally important is to quit smoking and see your dentist for routine dental checkups and periodic professional cleaning.


Experts also recommend that you opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush for cleaning your mouth. As much as possible, replace them at least every few months. If recommended by your oral health care provider, try using a mouth rinse to help eliminate mouth bacteria that cause plaque.


Are you experiencing any of the symptoms that may indicate gum disease? Contact Seale Family Dentistry in Lake Charles, Louisiana, so that we can diagnose your condition.


To learn more about diagnosing & preventing periodontal disease, contact Seale Family Dentistry in Lake Charles, LA at (337) 474-0212 today!