Gum Disease – Periodontitis
Bleeding gums is not a sign of gum disease !
In 99% of cases, bleeding gums is caused by the build-up of plaque over a 3 day period or more. Simply brushing properly should get rid of bleeding gums within a few days.
Periodontitis, true gum disease, is a hereditary condition which affects about a third of all people. It usually doesn’t start to appear until later in life as it is normally a very slow process.
It leads to loss of the supporting tissue of the teeth- the bone and periodontal tissue.
Although causing bone loss, periodontal disease is NOT connected to osteoporosis.
In severe cases it can lead to loss of all teeth, in very severe cases quite early on (age 40). Sometimes only the back teeth are lost, since the front teeth are easy to clean. This is the most important thing to know: IT IS PREVENTABLE through having excellent oral hygiene from an early age. In more severe cases we can often save many teeth by carrying out a hygiene programme, involving hygienist visits every 3 months.
Certain things make gum disease worse: smoking, poorly fitting crowns or dentures, overloading by clenching.
Teeth lost through periodontitis can be replaced with partial dentures, if necessary or, very occasionally, with implants.
If the teeth are badly affected, it might be advisable to have the remaining teeth removed if implants are decided upon as the best way forward, while there is sufficient bone – sometimes keeping badly affected teeth just leads to even more bone loss possibly even making implants impossible at a future date.
The main thing to remember is that brushing properly is a major factor in prevention and 3 monthly visits to the hygienist, where the teeth can be cleaned with a high-pressure salt and water spray is essential for maintenance and to help prevent further tooth loss.
After the initial assessment the teeth will be thoroughly cleaned, if necessary, using local anaesthetic, with an ultrasonic scaler. It is often possible to complete this in one visit, occasionally a second visit might be necessary for the initial cleaning. The teeth are then polished using a high-pressure salt and water spray, and oral hygiene measures are demonstrated. The next visit will be scheduled 1-3 months later, depending on the severity of the problem, where any remaining hard deposits will be identified (under magnification) and the polishing repeated, and hygiene instructions reinforced. Further visits are scheduled every 3 months.
Home care is, however, the most important part of continued periodontal therapy; we search for areas where hygiene is more of a challenge, and assist you in identifying these areas, to reinforce your home care.
Very rarely will corrective surgery be suggested, but problem restorations such as overhanging fillings or overhanging crowns may have to be adjusted or replaced. Our aim is to create a healthy, easily maintainable mouth, to enable you to keep gum disease away !