We know you have questions. Here are answers to your frequently asked questions. Still need help? Contact us.

Is screening for Oral Cancer painful?

No. The Gallup NM Dentists at Dental Innovations take great care in ensuring your comfort. The screening is done using VELscope, a technological device that emits light to help detect signs of oral cancer. The VELscope is pain-free and non-invasive.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a condition where an infection occurs in the gums, teeth, and the bones surrounding the teeth. It is typically caused by poor oral hygiene. Periodontal disease is usually seen in two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis.

What causes Periodontal Disease?

The leading cause of periodontal disease is the buildup of plaque. Your mouth has naturally-occurring bacteria that are used to break down food. When that bacteria combines with food and saliva, plaque results. If the plaque is not removed, it can enter into your gums, which can cause irritation and eventually lead to Periodontal Disease. The best defense against the buildup of plaque is good oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist consistently.

Are there signs that warn of Periodontal Disease?

Yes. Common signs are red and swollen gums, continual bad breath (halitosis), bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, and gums that are separating away from your teeth. Despite these being common occurrences for someone with Periodontal Disease, it is not unusual for a person with Periodontal Disease to not manifest any symptoms.

How will Periodontal Disease be diagnosed and treated?

In order to properly diagnose a patient, x-rays and a method called probing are used. During probing, your doctor measures the space between your teeth and gums to determine the depth. These spaces are known as pockets. Your doctor will measure from the bottom of where a tooth attaches to the top of the gums. If the resulting measurement is more than three millimeters, this is a strong indicator of Periodontal Disease. Additionally, gums can bleed during probing, which can also be an indication of infection.

X-rays are used to find out the condition of the jawbone. A person with Periodontal Disease will have bones that have retreated away from the necks of the teeth.

Why might I need scaling and root planning?

The process of scaling and root planning are analogous to cleaning an infected wound. Infection is the result of bacteria. The wound can only heal if the bacteria are removed. Similarly, scaling and root planning are done to eliminate plaque, tartar, and any other bacteria that lead to Periodontal Disease. All plaque and tartar existing below the gum line is removed, which in turn allows the gums to heal.