We use a microscope as a tool to help us treat and manage periodontal disease, also called gum disease. A microscope is helpful because the bacteria that cause periodontal disease cannot be seen with the naked eye. These bacteria thrive below your gum line, and multiply rapidly, producing toxins. It's these toxins, combined with your body's response to them that destroy the gums, bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. If periodontal disease is left untreated, you may lose your teeth.

Most people who suffer from periodontal disease aren't aware of it until the condition becomes serious, because early periodontal disease may not produce any symptoms. The good news is that we can detect the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease during your twice-yearly hygiene appointment.

We'll take a small plaque sample from a pocket between your tooth and gums, and place it on a slide. If you have active periodontal disease, we'll see an increase in a specific kind of bacteria on the slide. These bacteria are called spirochetes. You'll see your own slides when we use the microscope to help you judge the success of your own periodontal treatment. That way, you may be able to see the return to health in your own mouth after root planing.