Patients with gum disease have an infection of the gums and or bone that surround and support their teeth. Gum disease can affect patients of all ages and is one of the major factors contributing to bad breath, tooth pain and tooth loss.
Gum disease is usually caused by a build up of plaque and calculus on the teeth which comes about from poor oral hygiene and poor teeth cleaning.
Gum disease has two stages
Stage 1 – Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and is a result of the build up of plaque along the surfaces of teeth closest to the gums. Plaque can also build up between teeth where it is more difficult to clean. Gingivitis is reversible.
Stage 2 – Periodontitis
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease and can be quite destructive. Periodontitis can cause irreversible damage to the gums and supporting bone eventually resulting in tooth loss if left untreated.
One of the first gum disease symptoms is often bleeding gums. Gums become inflamed and can also be tender and painful, red or swollen. Other gum disease symptoms can include bad breath and a bitter taste in the mouth upon waking after sleep. Gums which have shrunk from the teeth, abscesses between teeth and gums and loose teeth are symptoms of more advanced gum disease.
If you have any of the above gum disease symptoms it is best to make an appointment with your Dentist. Your Dentist will review your teeth and gums and let you know if you have gum disease and recommend the best treatment for you.
Gum disease treatment for gingivitis usually involves your Dentist providing a thorough scale and clean to remove the plaque and calculus deposits. Your Dentist will also provide you with information on how best to look after your teeth at home to prevent future gum disease symptoms.
For patients with Periodontitis, a more extensive clean will be required. This cleaning may need to be completed over a number of appointments and may require local anaesthetic prior to the deep scaling and cleaning commencing.
Your Dentist will let you know whether he/she will be able to assist with your gum disease treatment. Your dentist may refer you to a specialist Periodontist for specialised care. A Periodontist is a dentist with specialist training in caring for gums and the supporting structures.
If you think you may have gum disease it is best to see your Dentist as soon as possible, to avoid further damage. To book an appointment contact your local dental centre or request an appointment online.