What is gum disease?
Tartar and plaque are perfect environments for bacteria. Gum disease occurs when bacteria starts to attack the soft gum tissue surrounding the teeth, causing swelling soreness or infection. Smoking causes people to have more plaque, which can make gum disease worse. Gum disease usually develops painlessly so it’s easy not to notice the damage it is doing. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.
There are two main forms of gum disease:
Gingivitis – is the inflammation of the gums, usually caused by bacterial infection, as a result of plaque build-up on teeth and gums. This results in red, tender or swollen gums and bad breath.
Periodontitis – if left untreated, gingivitis develops into periodontitis, which affects the tissues supporting the tooth i.e. gums, bone and periodontal ligament. It can lead to a more serious infection that can destroy the bone supporting the teeth and causes the development of small spaces (pockets) between the gum and teeth, resulting in loose teeth that may eventually fall out.
The main risk factors for gum disease are poor oral hygiene (plaque and tartar build-up), smoking, diabetes, dental appliances that fit poorly, stress, genetic factors, compromised immunity and consuming certain medications. We offer Periodontal Gum Treatment to help prevent and treat gum disease.
Treating gum disease
Our dentists and hygienists work closely together to treat and reverse the effects of gum disease.
Mild cases of gum disease (gingivitis) can be treated by visiting a hygienist, who will perform a thorough clean and remove any calculus. This makes it easier for you to maintain a good level of oral hygiene at home by brushing twice daily and flossing regularly.
If severe gum disease is found (periodontitis), further treatment may be needed. The first stage involves non-surgical cleaning of the pockets below the gum line, known as root planing, which removes plaque and tartar from the tooth roots. As this involves deeper cleaning under the gum line, the procedure may require local anaesthetic and several visits to the practice.
If non-surgical treatment is unsuccessful, periodontal surgery may be required to stop progressive bone loss and help regenerate bone where possible.
In order to prevent progression of periodontitis, it is important to have regular check-ups and professional cleaning every three months so that affected teeth can be closely monitored and treated.