Treatment and Prevention of Gum Disease
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry concerning the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the gum and bone tissue around your teeth, which helps prevent gum disease and stops you losing your teeth.
At Sharrow Dental our dentists and hygienists work to treat the damaged gums, allowing the affected tissue to heal and helping to prevent tooth loss that would be inevitable without treatment.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK and is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and irritate and degrade the bone gradually over time. This can often occur whilst the patient is completely unaware of it, hence why it earns its nickname ‘the silent disease’.
Causes and Risk Factors
Gum disease or periodontal disease can affect anybody but there are individuals who can be more susceptible to developing it than others.
Gum disease can be more likely for those who;
- Frequently smoke or drink alcohol
- Have heart disease
- Do not maintain good oral hygiene
- Have systematic diseases
- Are pregnant
- Have a genetic predisposition
- Are diabetic
- Have high stress levels
In addition to this, there are also certain types of prescription drugs which can increase a person’s likeliness of developing gum disease;
- Oral contraceptives (the pill)
- Cancer therapy medication
- Steroids such as corticosteroids and prednisone
- Epilepsy treatment
- Heart disease treatment such as calcium channel blockers
Gum disease all begins with a build-up of tartar and calculus so if people take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening then they have a good shot at stopping gum disease before it starts.
The Stages of Gum Disease
This is the earliest stage of gum disease. When plaque builds up around the tooth, the surrounding gums become swollen and inflamed. When the plaque is removed through effective brushing, the swelling will subside.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. This is much more aggressive and causes the breakdown and loss of surrounding bone and gum. The tooth can become loose due to periodontitis and may eventually be lost.
What Does a Hygienist Do?
Our periodontics team specialise in caring for the gums. If you are showing symptoms of advanced gum disease, you will be subject to a thorough periodontal assessment with one of our dentists and referral to a hygienist for treatment, which will include the following:
- A thorough examination of your mouth with X-rays and measurements
- A personalised treatment plan to help treat the existing problems and help the gums to become healthier, including advanced self-care and home cleaning advice and guidance
- A thorough tooth clean to prevent further infection
Regular check-ups will need to be arranged to check your progress and to implement plans to prevent further gum problems from occurr
What Are the Main Symptoms of Gum Disease?
This silent disease can be extremely difficult for patients to recognise which can lead to it going unnoticed for years if they fail to attend their annual dental check-ups. However, there are some symptoms to keep a close eye out for;
- Swollen, red, inflamed gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pus in-between teeth
- Receding gums
- Noticeable changes in bite or how the teeth come together
If patients notice one or more of these symptoms combined, then it is well worth visiting the dentist to rule out anything potentially harmful and help find a way to treat the issues.
You’re in Good Hands at Sharrow Dental
Our periodontal team based at our modern practice in Chelmsford, Essex are trained to spot gum disease at its very early stages. If you are showing signs of gum disease, our trained team of hygienists will be able to create a comprehensive treatment plan to control and manage the disease and help prevent it from progressing.
Gum disease is treatable but not reversible, so if you have any of the symptoms of early gum disease, be sure to contact us to book a consultation with one of our experts as soon as possible.
FOR MORE ADVICE AND SOLUTIONS ON A RECENT POST EXTRACTION OR TOOTH LOSS, PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR CARE LEAFLET BELOW.
What is the difference between plaque and calculus?
Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on your teeth. Whilst it cannot be seen by the naked eye it can often be felt by running your tongue across your teeth. Plaque grows quickly and the bacteria living in it convert sugars into acid additional to which is harmful to teeth, causing tooth decay and irritating the gums. It’s this that causes the inflammatory reaction in the body, eventually leading to gingivitis and gum disease.
Calculus, also known as tartar, is what occurs when plaque hardens after it is not removed by regular brushing and flossing. Calculus cannot be removed with a toothbrush and deposits tend to create stains on the teeth along the gum line, putting you more at risk from developing oral health issues. Visiting a hygienist for regular cleanings once to twice a year is recommended in order to prevent a harmful build up.
Can children suffer from gum disease?
Children and teenagers are rarely found to suffer from periodontal disease, but it can occur due to poor oral hygiene, irregular dental check-ups and cavities.
The term ‘gum disease’ can actually cover a wide range of symptoms from slight bleeding gums to fully developed periodontitis. The mildest form of gum disease known as gingivitis is relatively common and found in both children and adults.
Teaching children high standards of oral hygiene and how to properly care for their teeth from an early age is vital to help instil good habits and help protect their teeth and gums from periodontal disease. If you believe that your child is showing signs of gingivitis or gum disease, then be sure to arrange an appointment with your child’s dentist straight away so they can make an assessment and if necessary advise on treatment.
What can I do to help prevent gum disease?
There are many ways that patients can help prevent gum disease by taking control of their oral health and being consistent. These steps can include;
- Regular brushing, twice a day or after every meal
- Floss at least once a day
- Regular dental check ups
- Use an electric toothbrush and regularly replace the head
- Practice good, thorough brushing techniques
- Maintain a balanced, healthy diet
- Dental hygienist appointments
By spending just a small amount of time each day on these preventative measures, patients can help themselves avoid a lot of avoidable pain, time and money treating gum disease!