What is gum disease? Gum disease is the swelling, soreness and infection of the gum and tissues supporting your teeth. The first stage is called gingivitis – it is when the gums around your teeth become red and swollen. The swollen gums may bleed when you brush your teeth.
The second, more advanced stage, is called periodontal disease. The bone anchoring your teeth in your jaw is lost and your teeth become loose. If untreated, your teeth will eventually fall out. More teeth are lost through gum disease than through tooth decay.
What causes it? All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is nothing more than a thin film of bacteria which builds up on your teeth every day. It’s the yellow stuff on your teeth that you can remove by brushing and flossing every day.
Smoking makes gum disease worse. The smoke itself leads to more bacterial plaque and the oxygen deprivation means that infected gums fail to heal. Our dentists will be happy to help you along your journey should you wish to stop smoking and will work alongside your GP to ensure you feel fully supported with all the right resources at hand.
What are the symptoms? Gum disease is generally not painful so you may not notice the damage it is causing. The most common sign is bleeding whilst you are cleaning your teeth. Your breath may be unpleasant and your gums may also feel sore. In advanced cases, pus my ooze from around the teeth.
How is it treated? Your dentist will start with a thorough checkup of your teeth and gums. Your dentist will measure the ‘cuff’ of the gum around each tooth to detect whether periodontal disease has started. X-rays may be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost.
For minor cases, a visit to the hygienist and regular recall and maintenance will keep the disease under control and ensure you are doing everything you can to keep your gums as healthy as possible.
For more severe cases a referral to a periodontist may be required.
Preventive Procedures To ensure we are doing everything we can to keep your teeth healthy for as long as possible we practice a variety of different preventive procedures which are simple and of course pain free, these include:
Fissure sealants to prevent caries ( dental decay) forming in the pits and fissures of our teeth
Fluoride applications and prescribing to ensure the dental enamel is protected as best as possible from caries (dental decay)/ fracture/etc
Dental hygiene treatment including patient education on oral hygiene to ensure careful plaque control in the mouth and promotion of a healthy dental environment