In this post we look at some of the common questions we get asked about caring for your teeth.
What is gum disease?
This is a common question as the symptoms are often described as swelling, soreness of the gum; the tissues supporting the teeth are infected.
What is Gingivitis
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. The gums become red, puffy and bleed more easily. This can lead to bleeding on brushing.
What is periodontal disease?
Long standing Gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all effect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease progresses the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost , loosening the teeth. If this is not treated the teeth maybe lost as they eventually fall out.
What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth everyday. Many of these bacteria are completely harmless but some are the main cause of gun disease. To prevent gum disease you have to make sure that you remove all plaque from your teeth everyday. This can be done by brushing and cleaning in between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss.
Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?
Probably. It usually surprises people to hear that most people get some form of gum disease and it is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, gum disease develops 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.
How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?
Smoking can make gum disease worse. People who smoke tend to produce more bacterial plaque, the cause of gum disease. Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream so infected gums don’t heal the same.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortuately gum disease is not usually evident in its early stages – there is usually little or no pain so you don’t notice the problems until the damage is done. However you may become aware that your gums are a bit sore as the bacteria is active. This can lead to abscesses and pus may ooze from around the tooth. Over years the bone surrounding the tooth can be lost leading to loss of teeth. The longer gum disease remains untreated, the harder it is to treat.
What do I do if I think I have gum disease?
The first thing to do is to visit your hygienist for a thorough check up of your teeth and gums. They will measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign of periodontal disease. X-rays may be necessary to see if the bone has begun to erode. Once this is done they can prescribe the correct course of treatments for you.
What treatments are needed?
The hygienist will remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth. Importantly, you will also be shown how to do remove the plaque yourself. This can take more than one visit depending on the severity.
Good oral hygiene at home is the most important thing you can do to help prevent gum disease getting worse.
What else may be needed?
Once your teeth are clean you may need treatment to the roots of your teeth to make sure that no pockets of bacteria are left. There are two ways to do this at Confident Orthodontics. The usual way is by root planing which involves deeper scaling to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. You can have a local anaesthetic if you find this uncomfortable. The second option we offer here is Periowave treatment, which is a painless process which kills the bacteria by using sound waves. You can read more about this option and view a video about this by clicking the button below.
Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?
There is no cure for periodontal disease, but it can be controlled as long as you keep up the home care. Any further bone loss will be very slow and may stop altogether but only if you remove the plaque everyday and go for regular check-ups.
I have heard that gum disease is linked with other health conditions, is this true?
In recent years gum disease has been linked with diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease. poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia. More research is needed to ascertain how these links work but there is a great deal of evidence that having a healthy mouth and gums can help improve your general health.
For more information on this or to book a visit to see our hygienist please contact us now.