Treatment for Gum Disease
Gum disease is the swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. All gum disease is caused by plaque (a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth every day). There are two main types of gum disease: ‘gingivitis’ and ‘periodontal disease’. 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 you brush them. Periodontal disease can develop from long-standing gingivitis. 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 fixing the teeth to the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. More teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.
If you think you have gum disease
Most people have some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life. The first sign may be blood on your toothbrush when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may become unpleasant. People who smoke are more likely to have gum disease. Please come and see us for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. Your dentist can measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost.
If left untreated
Gum disease usually develops painlessly so you don’t notice the damage it is doing. However the bacteria are sometimes more active, making the gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over time the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult. Although periodontal disease is never cured it can be controlled as long as you keep up the home care you have been shown at Magee Dental Care. Any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day, and go for regular dental checks by your dentist and hygienist.
Your dentist will usually clean your teeth thoroughly to remove the scale and show you how to remove plaque yourself by cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions with the dentist or our Dental Hygienist. Once your teeth are clean, your dentist may decide to carry out further cleaning of the roots of the teeth, to make sure that the last pockets of bacteria are removed (root planing). You may need the treatment area to be numbed before anything is done. Afterwards, you may feel some discomfort for up to 48 hours.