Gum Disease (Periodontal)

What is Gum Disease (Periodontal) Treatment?

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease, periodontitis or pyorrhoea) is an infection of the underlying supporting structures of the teeth.

Periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal diseases are gum and bone infections caused by the bacteria (germs) in your mouth. These infections destroy the foundation, the gum and bone around your teeth. Periodontal diseases are painless until it is almost too late to save teeth.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause bad breath and swollen bleeding gums and eventually tooth loss. In fact, periodontal diseases are a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

What causes gum disease?

Periodontal diseases are bacterial gum infections that destroy the attachment fibres and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. The main cause of these diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth.

If plaque is not removed on a daily basis it can build up on the tooth surface and turn into a hard substance called calculus. Calculus, also known as tartar, is calcified dental plaque and is considered a contributing factor in causing periodontal diseases. When plaque and calculus are not removed the bacteria in plaque produce toxins (or poisons) that can destroy the supporting tissues and bone around the teeth.

Your own immune system attacks not only these invading bacteria but also the body’s own tissues, carving deep pockets between the teeth and gums. As the diseases progress, these pockets deepen, more gum tissue and bone are destroyed and the teeth eventually become loose. If periodontal diseases are not treated, the teeth may eventually need to be removed.

Signs of Gum Disease

  •  Gums bleeding when brushing the teeth
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Gums pulling away from the teeth, exposing roots and creating recessions
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Sudden swellings that are painful to the touch
  • Loose teeth, or spaces suddenly appearing between teeth
  • Teeth beginning to splay out
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together/a different bite

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Gum Disease FAQ

Your dentist will take a number of steps to check the health of the gums. Checking the colour and the firmness of the gums is normally the giveaway sign.

The main cause of periodontitis is the build up of plaque around the teeth and surrounding gum, which has failed to be cleaned. The plaque build up is especially dangerous because of the number of harmful bacteria it carries in the process. Smoking and a poor diet are also reasons for gum disease that we see a lot and it is crucial to try and eliminate both to avoid developing the disease. 

Losing a tooth to gum disease can cause a number of issues if left untreated. Gum disease is very preventable and it is essential to nip it in the bud earlier, rather than later. If left untreated, it can lead to health issues further from the mouth and even lead to heart issues. Ensuring any harmful bacteria doesn’t spread is crucial and maintaining good oral hygiene will put you in good stead. 

You will have a number of check ups after the procedure but it ultimately comes down to you. Maintaining good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing your teeth regularly is essential to making sure that you do not pick up gum disease again. The consequences can be bad if you leave it untreated for too long.

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