1. Early Self-diagnosis of Potential Gum Disease
The first phase is self-diagnosis. Gum disease often comes silently at first, with few obvious symptoms, which means constant vigilance is called for by each individual. While you take care of your daily oral hygiene, take the time to do a quick self-diagnosis of your gums.
Signs to look for include:
- Bleeding gums. That "pink in the sink" may not be so innocent after all. If bleeding is significant, easily provoked, and happens every time you brush, see a periodontist for a gum checkup.
- Oversensitive gums that may be tender to the touch or even pained when you chew food or speak.
- Your gum tissue is inflamed, swollen, or reddened.
- Your gum line is noticeably receding, thus exposing more of your tooth roots.
- You have chronic bad breath that isn't easily explained any other way, and perhaps, also a sour taste that always lingers in your mouth.
- Some teeth are loose, drifting out of position, or your bite is changing and unnatural.
- Your teeth are hyper-sensitive, in connection with a receding gum line.
- There are pockets forming below your gum line, usually in your interdental spaces.
Once you suspect you may have symptoms of gum disease, the next step is to see your local periodontist for a skilled, comprehensive gum examination.
While the dental professional will ask you about what you've already noticed and check for many of the same symptoms, he or she will do so with great experience at his/her disposal. An experienced and well-equipped periodontist can tell what is or is not gum disease, what stage (if any) of gum disease you are at, and assess your overall oral, dental, and periodontal health.
A probe will be used to measure the depth of any periodontal pockets that may be harboring bacteria colonies. Anything at 4 mm or deeper is a definite problem. You will also be asked about your medical history, whether you smoke (smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease), and what kind of oral hygiene practices you follow. X-rays will likely be taken as well so your jaw, teeth, and gums can be more minutely examined.
Your periodontist will then recommend whether you need periodontal treatment of some kind or if you need to improve your oral hygiene routine.
3. Follow Up & Tracking Of Improvement
Following periodontal treatment, if you undergo it, you will need to check back in to verify your gums are healing as they should. Only by following your periodontist's post-treatment instructions can you reduce the risk of a re-occurrence.
You will also want to continue monitoring yourself via self-examination for at least the next few months. And, in fact, you should always stay aware and take early symptoms seriously from now on.
To learn more about how gum disease is detected and treated, or to schedule a periodontal examination, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics in Central Florida today!