Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can lead to the premature loss of many teeth in some patients. Bacteria form a biofilm around our teeth (plaque), resulting in the inflammation and infection of the surrounding gums and bone. This most often occurs on teeth that have not been cleaned effectively or regularly enough.
With a constant endeavour to provide the best dental services, we include a periodontal examination for all of our patients. Let our dental team at Henry Street Dental Care know if you are concerned about having gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can also affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth if left untreated. There are three stages of the disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
How do you know if you have gum disease?
The signs of gum disease can be subtle and depend on the extent and stage of disease progression. Signs to look out for include:
- Inflamed gum tissue near the base of the visible tooth which can look red and puffy
- Gums that bleed easily from eating, brushing and/or flossing
- A metallic taste which can be a sign of blood in the mouth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Pus from between the teeth and gums
- Teeth that feel more mobile
- Teeth drifting apart
Fortunately, toothache is rarely a presenting symptom associated with periodontal disease. However, this also means that patients can have chronic gum disease and not be aware until it is too late. Regular professional check-ups are the best way to prevent it.
What should I do about it?
If left untreated, gum disease can become a serious problem. Once it is past the earliest stages, professional treatment from your dentist or hygienist is the only way to cure gum disease. If you notice any of these symptoms, the sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances are of saving your teeth and health.
How is it treated?
Treatment for gum disease starts with a thorough examination of the teeth and gums for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Initial treatment often involves teeth scaling and root planning, which is a non-invasive process that involves the removal of plaque and calculus from the surface of the teeth and underneath the gums. Equally important is patient education with instructions on how to improve on home oral care. The treatment required may need to be spread over several sessions depending on the severity of the periodontal disease.
Gum disease predisposes patients to its recurrence even after effective treatment has been carried out so it is imperative that a maintenance program is developed and followed. This team approach between dentist and patient is crucial in the success of treating gum infections.
How can I prevent gum disease from happening to me?
As well as regular check-ups, you need to brush and floss at least twice a day, reducing the buildup of plaque, which is usually the cause. Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash that’s used to treat gingivitis can be helpful. In addition, try to avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Who can get gum disease?
Anyone at any age can be affected, especially if you have not been making oral hygiene a priority. However, it is most common in people over the age of 30. There are some groups in the population who are at increased risk, including diabetics, pregnant women, anyone with a poor diet, and those taking illicit drugs.
This is just an overview of gum disease, if you still have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our office for more information.