‘Getting long in the tooth’ can describe some of the process relating to gum disease
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease caused by bacterial infection of the gums. It involves the gums, bone and supporting tissues and can lead to the loss of teeth.
Signs of Periodontal Disease include:
- Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums (gingivitis)
- Gums that have shrunk from the teeth
- Sensitive teeth due to the exposure of the root surface
- Bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loosening of teeth or spaces appearing as teeth drift apart
The main cause of gum disease is the build-up of bacterial biofilm or plaque that forms around the gumline and between the teeth as a result of poor oral hygiene. Some people are more prone to developing gum disease for hereditary reasons and the prevalence is much higher for those who smoke.
Periodontal Disease also affects several general health outcomes
Recent research has shown correlation between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions including:
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- General lower energy due to a compromised immune system
- Risk of a lower weight baby if mother has advanced gum disease
Prevention and treatment:
Your treatment depends on what level of gum disease you are experiencing. Your Dentist or Oral Health Therapist/Hygienist will assess your gum condition and give you advice relating to what treatment is required. If you would benefit by seeing a gum specialist (Periodontist) we will give you a referral.
Progression of the disease can be placed into the stages below:
- Inflamed and bleeding gums (gingivitis) –
Is reversible after a professional scale and clean along with following home care instructions the gums return to healthy
- Gingivitis with attachment loss –
Requires removal of calculus/tartar deposited below and above the gum followed by effective home care + review visits and regular maintenance cleans
- Gingivitis with attachment and bone loss (not reversible) with recession of gums –
Removal of calculus/tartar from root surfaces along with treatment of gum pockets. This usually requires two visits, with local anaesthetic to reduce discomfort. Effective home care and more regular dental visits are necessary to slow the progression of the disease
- Gingivitis with attachment loss and severe bone destruction with loose teeth –
Removal of calculus/tartar from deeper root surfaces along with microbial treatment of gum pockets. Again this will likely take more than one visit and local anaesthetic is used. Effective home care with frequent maintenance visits is required. The long term prognosis for teeth at this level of gum disease is not promising.
Please contact us on 3396 4094 for a full examination and assessment of your gum health.
- How does smoking contribute to gum disease? Read more online at Quit Now
- Why do I get calculus/tartar buildup even though I carefully clean my teeth?
- Why do I still have bad breath even though I clean my teeth every day?
- If I have periodontal/gum disease does it mean that my child will also develop it?
- What instruments do you use when scaling teeth and will it hurt?