If you have been told you have periodontal (gum) disease, you’re not alone. Many adults currently have some form of the disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease those results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
What causes gum disease?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colourless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
There are two main stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis is early gum disease and occurs when dental plaque builds up on teeth, particularly where the gum joins the tooth. The signs of gingivitis are bleeding, redness and swelling of the gum.
Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that may occur if gingivitis is not treated. The gum margin, – the part of the gum that seals to the tooth, – is weakened and spaces form between the tooth and the gum. These spaces are called ‘periodontal pockets.’ Bacteria and their products become trapped in these pockets causing further inflammation (redness and swelling).
The structures affected by periodontitis include the covering of the tooth root (cementum), the bone and the fibres that connect the cementum to the bone (periodontal ligament). As the disease progresses and bone is lost, larger spaces begin to form between the tooth and the gum. Signs of periodontitis include bleeding, swelling and receding gums together with bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth and loose teeth.
At Faith Dental, we will examine your gums with a probe to measure the spaces between the tooth and gum. This will determine the health of your gums and supporting structures. We will instruct you in tooth cleaning techniques and clean your teeth professionally to remove any plaque and calculus (hardened plaque).
In some advance cases, we may suggest referral to a gum specialist (periodontist).
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