Have you ever been happy about achieving a particular number? Whether it’s a good grade, a weight loss goal, an improved golf game, or a raise at work, numbers often represent our goals and aspirations.
To keep your smile healthy and beautiful, there are some other important numbers worth knowing.
During your regular wellness visits at Whitmore Dental, we’ll assess the health of your teeth and gums. This process is called periodontal charting – or perio charting. When we perio chart, we measure the space between your tooth and gum tissue, and you’ll hear us say and chart your numbers.
When your gum tissue is healthy, there will be no more than 1-3 millimeters (mm) between each tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. Don’t be concerned about the difference between 1 and 3 mm, as this can vary based on the location of the tooth. (For comparison, a quarter is about 1.75 mm thick.)
There are two main warning signs that we look for during perio charting.
• Bleeding. Healthy gums don’t bleed. Even if you have gaps in the 1-3 millimeter range, bleeding is a sign of gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed. Regular dental cleanings and improving your care of your teeth at home can get rid of gingivitis. If gingivitis persists, it can lead to periodontal disease and ultimately cause tooth loss.
• Gaps that are 4 millimeters and above. Gaps of 3-5 mm put you at risk for gum disease, and require more check-ups and self-care. Gaps of 5-7 mm mean potential bone loss and damage to the tissues in your mouth, and require a higher level of treatment. If gaps are 7 mm and above, we’ll work with you to provide advanced care to save teeth that are at risk.
Gum disease starts when plaque builds up on your teeth, and the area around the gum line is particularly vulnerable to this problem. The good news is that simple steps can protect you from gum disease.
Simple steps to protect your teeth and gums
• Brush for two minutes twice a day
• Floss every side of each tooth, every day
• Learn more about easy home care routines that protect the health of your smile.
• Visit Whitmore Dental regularly for wellness visits, which include a professional dental cleaning.
It’s a great feeling to hear your scores improve, and to see and know that your teeth are healthier!
To schedule a wellness visit, contact Janet at 877-779-4486.