During your biannual dental checkup and cleaning, your dental hygienist or dentist will perform a periodontal examination to determine if you have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissue that holds the teeth in place.
When checking for periodontal disease, Dr. De la Torre will use a small, specially designed instrument called a periodontal probe to measure the space (sulcus) between each tooth and its gum. A healthy pocket depth measures no more than 3 millimeters and will not bleed. If an individual has periodontal disease and neglects to seek treatment the pockets between the teeth and gums will deepen. Tooth mobility and pocket depth, in addition to the inflammation and/or bleeding an individual is experiencing, determines which stage of periodontal disease he or she has.
In this stage, plaque and its toxic by-products cause inflammation in the gums. Consequently, the gums become tender and are likely to bleed. This is commonly referred to as Gingivitis.
The plaque hardens, becoming tartar. As the tartar and plaque builds up, the pockets between the teeth, and gums continue to deepen. This causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. As the pockets fill with bacteria, the body tries to fight the bacterial infection causing pus to form in the pockets. At this point, the gums are extremely irritated and bleed easily. In addition, some bone loss may be evident.
Lack of treatment has allowed the bacteria to continue destroying the tissue holding the teeth as well as the bone and the gums. As a result, the teeth have lost a substantial amount of support and, unless treatment is sought, the affected teeth may be lost. Furthermore, widespread moderate to severe bone loss may be seen.
The periodontal treatment that Dr. Alina de la Torre recommends depends on the stage of the disease. If the disease is caught during the first stage and no damage has occurred, Dr. de la Torre will most likely recommend one or two regular cleanings. If the disease has progressed to stage two or three, a deep cleaning will be recommended. If the pockets neglect to heal, periodontal surgery to reduce the pocket depths may be necessary.
Residents of Tampa, Westchase and its surrounding communities choose Dr. Alina de la Torre to help them improve and/or maintain their smile. Dr. de la Torre’s dedication and experience have made her one of the premier dentists on Florida’s West Coast. If you reside in the Tampa area and you need dental care, please contact Delatorre Dentistry today at (813) 792-9400. We look forward to seeing your smile!
If you reside near Tampa, Fla., instead of avoiding the dentist, let Dr. Alina de la Torre and her staff perform your dental procedures while you are comfortably sedated. To learn more, contact Delatorre Dentistry at 813.792.9400 today.