About Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal (gum) disease is a chronic infection of the gum and bone that hold your teeth in position. It is frequently painless, and you may not be aware that you have a problem until the gums and supporting bone are seriously damaged. This is why regular dental check-ups are so important. Almost everyone will have some degree of gum disease at some time in their lives. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. Thankfully, gum disease treatment has made a lot of advances.
Aside from causing tooth loss, there is also a strong link between gum disease and other common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
All gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque. This is a film of bacteria that forms on the surface of teeth and gums every day. Effective removal of plaque by brushing and flossing daily will prevent the harmful bacteria in plaque from proliferating and causing gum disease.
Fortunately, if diagnosed early, gum disease treatment can be done with regular scaling and rigorous oral hygiene. Often your dentist and hygienist alone can manage gum disease, but if the condition worsens you may be advised to see a Periodontist. This is a dentist with special expertise in gum conditions and their management.
Who needs to have Gum Disease Treatment?
A lot of people who have gum disease have no obvious symptoms. This is likely why it is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. There are, however, certain signs that indicate that you may be developing gum disease. These include:
1) Bleeding when brushing teeth
2) Bad breath
3) Sore and inflamed gums
4) Loose teeth and movement of teeth
There are also certain risk factors which contribute to the likelihood of someone developing gum disease. These risk factors include:
1) Poor oral hygiene – this is the most common cause of gum disease. Regular visits to the oral hygienist and dentist can help monitor your hygiene and contribute to the prevention of gum disease
2) Smoking – gum disease is more common in smokers than non-smokers
3) Hereditary – gum disease tends to run in families
4) Diseases that reduce how effective the immune system works such as Diabetes and HIV
5) Drugs – as a side effect of certain prescribed drugs
6) Age – incidence increases with age
7) Stress – this reduces one’s immune systems effectiveness
8) Lack of quality sleep- this also reduces the effectiveness of one’s immune system
9) Hormonal changes such as pregnancy
It is important that your dentist and hygienist are aware of any of these symptoms and risk factors that you may have so they can pay the required diligence to your gum health.
In healthy teeth, the space (sulcus) between the gum and tooth is less than 3mm deep and can be fairly easily cleaned by flossing and brushing. In Periodontal Disease this groove deepens (to 4 mm or more) to form a pocket that collects more plaque bacteria. These bacteria, which are difficult to remove from the pocket by normal brushing and flossing, produce toxins that lead to the breakdown of the tissue and bone anchoring the teeth. Over time, the pocket deepens and the tooth becomes loose and will eventually fall out.