The American Dental Association has set up more stringent outlines toward early detection and treatment of periodontal disease. A large percentage of the population has some form of gingivitis or periodontal concerns. Periodontal disease is diagnosed by a dentist or a hygienist during your dental exam.

The first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, is when plaque irritates the gums, making them tender, inflamed and likely to bleed. The more advanced stage is periodontitis. Gums begin to recede from the teeth and deep pockets form between the gum and the teeth. Gum irritation and bleeding are more severe and there may be bone loss. Left untreated, periodontal disease can result in tooth loss.

The dentist will evaluate the type and severity of your gum disease. If caught early and no damage has been done, then treatment can be as simple as more frequent cleaning. It may also suggest that there be an improvement to your daily oral hygiene care. In more advanced cases, a deep cleaning (root planning) may be recommended. This is most times performed with local anesthetic. More severe cases may require a referral to a specialist.

Once your teeth and gums are healthy again, dedicated home care, routine exams and cleanings should maintain the health of your mouth.