What is periodontal disease? Some people are susceptible to gum disease due to their genetic makeup and other factors e.g. smoking habit, stress and some medications. Most common symptoms include bleeding gums, swelling and redish gums, unpleasant smells and tooth movement.
I am susceptible to gum disease does that mean I will lose all my teeth?
With specialist treatment the progress of gum disease often decelerates, you will keep more natural teeth for longer and keep more gum and bone that supports your teeth.
How is gum disease diagnosed?
General dentists screen their patients for gum disease at every dental examination by gently feeling around teeth with a gum probe. This detects deep gum pockets that indicate the locations where the supporting gum and bone has dissolved away. An assessment takes place including gum measurements and dental x-ray pictures to identify areas of bone loss around teeth.
Treatment involves cleaning away the hard deposits on teeth (calculus or tartar) above and below your gum. Sometimes a surgical approach is recommended with a local anaesthetic for comfort in order to carefully clean deep below the gum. Very occasionally long-term antibiotics are prescribed.
How successful is treatment?
The advantage of specialist treatment it that it offers the best possible outcome. Most patients respond favourably to treatment.
What is the patients role in treatment?
A patients home care plays the most important role in maintaining meticulous ‘plaque control’ twice a day, patients must become black belt tooth brushers! Consider that a patients home care represents 95% of the annual tooth cleaning, whilst the dentist's cleaning represents only 5%.
Why is a 2 to 3 monthly recall with the hygienist/dental therapist necessary?
Professional tooth cleaning helps keep difficult areas free of hard calculus that harbours bad bacteria. The dentist helps you perfect your home care and regular monitors gum health on a regular basis which is important because it is an opportunity to identify and ‘burst of gum disease activity’ as soon as they occur.
What happens without treatment?
Without treatment gum and bone continues to slowly dissolve away, surprisingly this is often a painless condition until the disease reaches an advanced stage when teeth become sensitive, painful gum infections develop and teeth become so loose they need to be removed.