At Hunt Valley Dental, led by Dr. Thomas Rhodes, our team supports the oral health and well-being of individuals across Maryland. Scheduled at least once every six months, routine examinations evaluate the tissues and structures of your “oral cavity” (mouth). Also, Dr. Rhodes assesses maxillofacial structures of the jaws and face.
Gum disease threatens the soft tissues that surround, protect, and stabilize our teeth. A diagnosis may be made during a dental check-up. We use special instruments to measure the spaces or pockets between teeth and gums. These periodontal pockets are indicators of the presence of disease and the extent or stage of periodontal inflammation or infection.
Healthy gums are largely pinkish-red, fit snugly around the teeth, and do not bleed or feel tender when touched. The spaces between the teeth and gums are minimal and measure no more than three millimeters. If our hygienists find that your periodontal pockets are deeper than four millimeters, you may have gingivitis. At this point, the effects of gum disease can be reversed when treated promptly and appropriately.
Additionally, during your regular exams, we can confirm the presence of advanced disease (or “periodontitis”). Late-stage gum disease is characterized by gingival infection and periodontal pockets deeper than five millimeters. Patients may also notice concerning changes at this stage, such as loose or shifting teeth.
Depending on the severity of the damage to your gums, we may be able to restore your mouth back to health with a nonsurgical procedure called “Scaling and Root Planing.” It is an alternative to the standard 6-month cleaning, which may be all you need for gum health if you do not have risk factors for periodontal disease.
Individuals with more advanced gum disease may require surgical treatments. As a state-of-the-art dental practice, we also use cutting-edge testing and therapies. Oral DNA testing, for instance, gets ahead of the disease by assessing risk factors at the microbiological level. Laser dentistry, too, presents a painless and precise alternative to more invasive and conventional “cutting” techniques to remove diseased tissue and treat gum disease.