Dr. Michael R. Hinze
Family Dentistry | Dr. Michael R. Hinze, DDS | 111 West 4th St. | Hale Center, TX | 806.839.2484
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Which Mouth Most Resembles Yours?
These photographs of actual mouths represent various stages of health and disease. The disease that is depicted is periodontal disease, which is often a "silent" disease. The affected individuals sometimes don't realize they have the disease until it is in the advanced stages. Once periodontal disease affects the bone which supports the teeth, the teeth become loose and are in danger of being lost. Which mouth most resembles yours?
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Healthy Gingiva (gums)
These "gums" are healthy because this individual takes proper care of their teeth. This person brushes regularly, flosses between the teeth, and visits their dentist for regular professional cleanings. Notice that the "gums" are pink (not red), firm in appearance, and "thin" (you can easily see the underlying bone). The areas of gum that extend between the teeth are sharp (pointed). These are all signs of healthy gingival tissues.
These "gums" are showing signs of disease. At this stage, only the soft tissues are involved. This person is allowing an accumulation of plaque to stay on the teeth, particularly at the "gum-line". Notice that the tissue is puffy and red. This soft tissue may bleed easily when manipulated. The "gum" areas between the teeth have become blunted (no longer pointed), inflammed, and irritated. This disease process is reversible, provided the person starts to provide better home-care and see their dentist for regular cleanings.
This person's dental disease has progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis. At this stage, the bone that anchors the teeth is starting to resorb (go away). This person also experiences bleeding of the "gums", often for no apparent reason. This individual may awake in the moring, with blood in the mouth. The cause for this disease, once again is the accumulation of plaque and a harder substance (calculus) that builds at the "gum-line" and even below the soft tissue. The body mounts a response that causes the blood to rush to and accumulate in the soft tissue, and the bone begins to resorb away. This disease process can be checked with proper home care, treatment by a dentist or "gum" specialist, and regular professional cleanings.
This person has advanced periodontal disease, with resultant bone loss, that has allowed the teeth to move and shift. The longstanding plaque that has been allowed to accumulate at the "gum-line" has resulted in dental decay, that has been repaired with non-cosmetic "fillings". The "gums" have receeded, leaving exposed root surfaces, and the resorption of bone has caused the teeth to become mobil. At this stage, the individual is likely to require extraction of several or all of the teeth. The tragedy of this type of disease, is that it could have been prevented with proper oral hygiene, and regular professional dental cleanings.