Benefits of an Annual Periodontal Evaluation
An annual periodontal evaluation plays a crucial role not just in oral healthcare but in maintaining your overall wellbeing.
Periodontitis is the medical term for diseases that ravage the bones and soft tissue supporting the jaw and teeth. The preliminary stage of this condition reveals itself as gingivitis, an infection of the gums caused by a build-up of bacteria-laden plaque and tartar on the surface of teeth near the gum line.
Periodontal problems can be linked to other chronic, inflammatory conditions, including diabetes, respiratory infections, and cardiovascular disease.
A comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) is vital to identify any signs of gum disease to enable early intervention, and an in-depth annual periodontal evaluation is recommended by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) for all adults.
Besides an examination of your gums and looking for signs of plaque accumulation, a thorough periodontal assessment will also check the state of your teeth, your bite, oral bone structure, and risk factors such as age and whether you smoke.
The American Academy of Periodontology says research indicates that periodontal disease in the U.S. may be much more prevalent than originally estimated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of adults in the country suffer from gum infections.
Left untreated, a gum infection will habitually intensify to a serious, painful level, even to the extent of requiring dental surgery, such as bone or soft tissue grafts and pocket reduction (flap surgery) to fold back gum tissue and get rid of the bacteria beneath.
However, if the problem is detected early, minimally-invasive procedures such as scaling and root planing will be sufficient to address the issue.
Are You Vulnerable to Gum Infections?
The most common cause of periodontitis is poor oral hygiene – inadequate daily brushing and flossing – which can lead to an accumulation of tartar and plaque on the gum line and teeth. However, certain people are more susceptible to gum problems.
If you’re a smoker, toxins in cigarettes weaken your gum tissue, giving bacteria an ideal environment in which to thrive and spread.
Many women suffer pregnancy gingivitis, which is caused by hormonal changes that weaken the body’s defense against bacteria.
Gum disease also tends to run in the family. If you’re unsure about the periodontic history of your family, ask your dentist about DNA testing that can indicate potential gum issues.
Older people can be particularly susceptible to gum diseases. With aging, your gums can become frail and less resistant to bacteria, especially if you smoke.
What you eat also plays a big part in oral health. Vegetables, fruit and food high in vitamin C are good, but acids, sugars and starches will create a breeding ground for harmful microbes.
Some prescription medicines, including treatments for high blood pressure or allergies, can result in the mouth drying out. An adequate supply of saliva is imperative to wash away bacteria and food particles, and keep your gums and tongue healthy.
What Does an Annual Periodontal Evaluation Entail?
A routine of systematic brushing and flossing at home, supported by professional dental cleaning and an annual periodontic assessment from Implant and Periodontic Specialists in Bellevue or Issaquah, is the best way to keep gum infections at bay.
An annual periodontic evaluation can pick up on problems before they become advanced. This allows for relatively minor, non-surgical treatments, typically scaling to thoroughly clean below the gum line, and planing to level the surface of the tooth root so the gums can re-attach properly. If the tissue or bone or surrounding your teeth has become severely damaged, a surgical procedure, such as pocket reduction, regeneration or soft tissue graft, will be necessary.
During a periodontic evaluation, your dentist will examine your teeth, fillings, and any other restorations in your mouth to detect any changes or problems. The positioning of your teeth will also be noted. The assessment will also determine whether your teeth are coated with an excessive amount of plaque, and evaluate the overall health of your gums, particularly the spaces between your gums and teeth.
A shift in the positioning of your teeth can indicate gum disease, so an examination of your bite alignment will be carried out to assess how well your upper and lower teeth fit together. Your dentist will also look at your overall health history to see whether you may be particularly vulnerable to gum infections.
The precision of periodontic check-ups has improved vastly with advancements in technology, including state-of-the art 3D imaging, which also has the benefit of creating a more comfortable experience for the patient.
A 3D digital scan presents a clearer picture of bone and soft tissue so any problems can be appraised more precisely to ensure the best treatment. It enables detection of issues that might be missed with 2D procedures, and this ensures early intervention to give the patient a much better chance of a satisfying end result.
Why Your Periodontic Check is So Important
Periodontitis is a serious problem that can destroy gum and bone tissue, leading to loss of teeth. It is also linked to heart disease, diabetes and strokes. This makes a comprehensive periodontal evaluation imperative, not just for your oral health but for the sake of your overall welfare.
By checking your periodontal health yearly, your dentist will know exactly how healthy your teeth and gums are and will be better placed to determine whether you need treatment.
When your dentist has completed your comprehensive periodontal evaluation, they will go through their findings with you and explain any treatment that is needed. This evaluation is also a good time for you to ask any questions you may have about your oral health in general.
Bellevue and Issaquah Implant & Periodontic Specialists is highly-skilled in the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases that attack the bone and soft tissue underpinning the jaw and teeth. It can carry out a comprehensive annual periodontic evaluation for you with the help of cutting-edge digital imaging technology to give you peace of mind by detecting any warning signs of potential problems that may not be immediately apparent. Call to setup an appointment with our expert perio staff today!