What is gum disease?
Gum disease is inflammation of the gums and damage to the jaw bone that holds your teeth in place.
It is a disease that if left untreated, will cause tooth loss.
How common is gum disease?
Gum disease is one of the most common disease prevalent in developed countries. It is thought to affect around 20% of Australian adults.
What are the types of gum disease?
There are two types: gingivitis and periodontitis.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is when the gums are red, swollen, shiny and may bleed on brushing. This is caused by plaque that is not cleaned off regularly, which irritates and inflames the gums. This condition is reversible.
What is periodontitis?
If the plaque is not cleaned off the teeth, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is when the jaw bone starts shrinking away from around the tooth. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, leaving a gum pocket around the tooth. This pocket traps even more plaque and over time, the plaque hardens to form calculus (scale around teeth) in the gum pockets.
The gums may shrink and recede over time, exposing some of the roots of the teeth, making teeth sensitive and loose. Sometimes gum abscesses can form.
Am I at risk of gum disease?
You are more at risk of gum disease if you are/have:
- Difficulty to clean your teeth well due to dentures or crooked teeth.
- Immune system disorders or medications that suppresses your immune system
- Genetic susceptibility and ethnic background – If your family members have lost teeth from gum disease, you are most likely more at risk of gum disease.
What is the treatment of gum disease?
This depends on the severity of your gum disease.
To treat periodontitis, you will need deep cleaning of your teeth and gum pockets. This is done after numbing up the teeth and gums. The purpose of treatment is to scrape out the toxins created by the calculus and allow the gums to reattach to your tooth.
If the pockets are too deep to be cleaned, you may need gum surgery to clean the teeth and remove the gum pockets.
What happens after treatment of gum disease?
Periodontal maintenance needs to be carried out every three months, where all your teeth will be scaled again. At this visit, perhaps only a few selected areas will need to be numbed for deep cleaning. This needs to be done on a three monthly basis as this will disrupt the bacterial proliferation and growth to prevent the progression of disease.
Eventually the goal is to get the gum pockets down to a normal state and for you to be able to maintain good oral hygiene at home. The time between visits can be increased when that happens.
Dr. Lydia is a dentist in Brisbane, who specialises in helping people restore their smiles and become confident in smiling, talking and eating again.
Are you wanting to treat your gum problems? Let us help you regain confidence in smiling again.
Contact us today by ringing us on (07) 3261 2405 or BOOK A CONSULTATION with us and take the first step to getting quality dental treatment.
READ ALSO: 5 things to do if you have receding gums
SEE ALSO: Bracken Ridge Dental’s Smile Gallery
Caption: Michael came to us with very worn teeth and found himself constantly having dental work done as his fillings don’t last very long in his worn teeth. He also disliked his smile. We built up his teeth with ceramic crowns and this is the result. Pat loves his smile now and can eat what he wants without worrying about fillings falling out. His teeth are now stronger than ever and will last a long time.