Gum disease: All you need to know about
What is gum disease and how can I make sure my gums are healthy?
Gum disease known as Ginigvitis or Periodontitis affects the tissues surrounding your teeth.
Each tooth is surrounded by gums and underneath your gums there is bone. Each root is attached to the bone by small ligaments called periodontal ligaments. These three tissues: gums, bone and periodontal ligaments form the Periodontium, which mean in translation tissues surrounding the tooth : “Perio”-around” and “dontia”-teeth.
In our mouth there are plenty of different bacteria. Some of the bacteria are good and some of them are pathogenic to the gums. The bacteria accumulate everyday in the form of plaque. If the plaque is not brushed away with the toothbrush, the floss and the interdental brushes it can calcify and form calculus/tartar. The rough surface of tartar is ideal environment for even more bacteria, more plaque and eventually more tartar. Although the plaque can be removed with your daily oral hygiene, the tartar can only be removed by your dentist and the hygienist during your regular scale and polish.
If the plaque and the tartar are not removed the bacteria get between your teeth and your gums causing gum inflammation. The gums become spongy and loose allowing the bacteria to accumulate much deeper. When the disease is progressing the surrounding bone is reduced, the tooth becomes loose and eventually may fall out.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is a complex disease that can be affected by many different factors.
– The main factors are the bacteria which accumulates everyday in the mouth in combination with genetic factors. Some people are more vulnerable to the bacteria and their toxins and their gums and bone are more sensitive to the inflammation.
– Smoking is also a major factor in developing gum disease. The incidence of periodontitis can be three times higher for current smokers compared to non smokers.
– Apart from your teeth, your gums and your bone gum disease is correlated with other serious conditions. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and premature births are proven to be related to gum disease.
How can I recognise whether my gums are diseased?
Bleeding when you brush or floss is a sign of gum inflammation that should not be ignored. Red, spongy and swollen gums are another indication of gum infection. Your taste and breath can also be affected.
At later stage you may also notice that the gums are receding and the teeth are becoming loose as they are less protected by your gums and your bone. Many people have gum disease without realising it. Very often gum disease does not cause any symptoms and is not diagnosed until it is too late. Regular check up allows your dentist to spot the problem at the early stages preventing more complex and expensive treatment that very often involves multiple extractions.
What can I do to make sure may gums are healthy?
The most important are regular check ups with your dentist as gum disease can start at any time and age. Your dentist will be able to diagnose whether you suffer from gum disease and advise you on the next steps.
If you suffer from mild gum disease regular sessions with hygienist for thorough cleaning (scaling and root planning) together with assessment and improvement of your brushing and interdental cleaning techniques should be sufficient.
If the gum disease is more advanced your dentist will advise you to see a Periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist with further postgraduate studies in gum disease. Your periodontist will take a thorough oral assessment in order to evaluate the cause, progression and stage of your gum disease. This is followed by an individually designed treatment plan to arrest the progression of the gum disease.
Non-surgical treatment is commonly known as deep cleaning and involves scaling and root debridement under local anaesthesia. Dental laser is also used in moderate and more advanced cases of periodontal disease improving the outcome of the treatment.
In certain cases, especially in more severe gum disease, deep cleaning alone may not be sufficient. Further treatment might be necessary in the form of surgical periodontal therapy. Different surgical techniques are available depending on the desired aim and the gum condition.
Make a consultation appointment at KF Dental a detailed assessment of your gum condition is done during your regular oral health examination and if necessary further treatment is planned. If needed you can see our hygienist and our periodontist for further gum assessment and treatment. Being under the same roof they work on very close relationship with your dentist ensuring the treatment is coordinated and you will have a long term maintenance program that will ensure your gum disease is under control.