Preventive Dentistry » Gum Disease Treatments
Screening for gum disease forms an integral part of your routine examination.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK. It is also linked to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and very recently a genetic link was formally identified between Periodontal disease and CHD (on chromosome number 9). Current advice is to diagnose and treat Periodontal disease as promptly as possible due to the causal connection between the two diseases. For more information on this click here
What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum diseases are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. There is a strong genetic basis for gum disease and there is often a family history of the condition. Other factors that play an important role include smoking, stress and certain medical conditions e.g. diabetes. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth and gums every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant. With more advanced gum disease the teeth can start to drift and become loose.
Treatment of Gum Disease:
Regular examinations will ensure that a correct diagnosis is made. Special assessment techniques, including x-rays will be used after which the Dentist will be able to advise you on any necessary treatment. This will include advice and demonstrations on specific oral hygiene methods to help you to remove the plaque bacteria that collect on your teeth. Professional cleaning is often required and we use modern ultrasonic scalers which painlessly remove all deposits of tartar/calculus which have formed on the teeth and below the gums. Most cases of periodontal disease can be treated this way. Once your gum condition has been stabilised we advise regular hygiene visits to ensure that your gum health remains stable. Occasionally more complex treatment is required, and your Dentist will advise you accordingly.
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