In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis and is caused by a virulent bacteria found in plaque. At this stage a routine dental cleaning is usually sufficient to remove the sources of infection and restore periodontal health. If not treated properly however, this infection can lead to periodontitis which is a chronic inflammation and can lead to irreparable damage the bone which supports the tooth. If left untreated for an extended period of time gum disease can result in the loss of teeth and other health issues. Early warning signs of periodontal disease are swollen, bleeding, or tender gums, and if you are experiencing these symptoms, we encourage you to contact us today. If caught early, we can help you reverse the damage. Dr. Hock carefully examines your gums for color changes, bleeding, swelling, and recession. He also checks for loose and sensitive teeth. Full mouth x-rays can show if there is any bone loss around your teeth. He may also ask you about your health to see if a medical condition, such as diabetes, could be contributing to your periodontal disease. Periodontal probing helps measure how advanced your disease is. During probing, a tool (probe) measures the depth of space (called the pocket) between the tooth and the surrounding gum. The deeper the pocket, the more severe the problem.