Understanding gum disease

10th August 2015

Gum disease is the name given to a wide set of conditions which effect the structures supporting your teeth, it can cause inflammation and swelling of the gums. In extreme cases cause damage to the bone and ligaments that hold your teeth in place and lead to loss of teeth.

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Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis

The least serious form of gum disease, gingivitis is most commonly caused by plaque build-up on your teeth which has irritated your gums. This occurs when plaque has not been regularly cleared from your teeth and has gotten under your gums.

This can irritate your gums and they become red, swollen and can bleed when you brush your teeth.

Good and regular cleaning can clear the problem up but untreated it can lead to more serious problems.

Periodontitis

This is the next stage on from gingivitis, the inflammation can spread to the ligaments and bones holding your teeth in place. The gums may begin to pull away from the teeth leaving exposed pockets into which more plaque forms which then cannot be reached with brushing alone.

Over time the plaque will become harder and turns into tartar which can cause further irritation and infection which over time can lead to abscesses under the gums.

It can expose the roots of the teeth making them extremely sensitive and eventually this can lead to tooth loss.

Caught early enough it can be treated however it can often not be fully cured. You will then be in the maintenance phase.

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Symptoms of gum disease

Gum disease is not always painful meaning you may not know you have it. Therefore it is important to attend regular check-ups with your dentist and maintain good oral hygiene at all times.

It is also advisable to be vigilant with your teeth and look out for some of the tell-tale signs of the onset of gum disease.

The first signs of gingivitis are:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth or eat hard foods
  • Red and swollen gums

If this has progressed on to periodontitis then you may have:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Gum recession and sensitivity
  • Wobbly or loose teeth
  • Gum abscesses

The symptoms of advanced gum disease known as acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) can include:

  • Very painful bleeding ulcers
  • Bad breath
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or talking
  • General bad health
  • Tooth loss
  • Excess saliva in the mouth

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Treatment of gum disease

The treatment you receive will depend upon the severity of the gum disease you are experiencing. At bow lane dental we have an in-house gum specialist (periodontist) and five hygienists who will work with you to improve your dental health and reducing the impact of your gum disease.

Professional cleaning

In the case of gingivitis your dental specialist will thoroughly clean your teeth above and below your gums. This is sometimes called a “scale and polish” treatment.

Plaque and tartar will be cleared from your teeth and gums often using an ultrasonic cleaning device which cleans your teeth far more effectively than any toothbrush could.

In the event of more serious issues such as periodontitis extra treatment can be required and it could mean several appointments to perform what is called root planing. This may require a local anaesthetic gel rubbed into the gums beforehand or even injection.

A course of antibiotics can also be necessary in some circumstances.

Gum surgery

If your gum disease is severe you may require gum surgery, at Bow Lane Dental our gum specialist can perform such treatments if they become necessary.

Prevention is the best cure

At Bow Lane Dental we always promote good oral health and hygiene. Keeping your teeth clean and having regular check ups with your dentist can prevent the onset of gum disease and other dental health issues from ever occurring.

If you would like to know more, please contact our friendly dental health team.

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