Periodontitis

Gum disease

Treating gum disease

The early stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is an inflammation of the gums usually because of bacterial infection and poor oral hygiene. If gingivitis is left untreated the consequences can be severe. It can escalate into a more serious infection known as periodontitis as well as tooth loss. If left long enough, this condition can cause the gums to separate from the teeth. This separation can lead to soft tissue and bone injury, subsequently affecting the teeth these structures support.

Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, this disease is avoidable. Consistent periodontal care including examination and x-rays, as needed, are key to your oral health.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

  • Tender, red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth
  • Receding gum line (gums that have pulled away from the teeth)
  • Constantly bad breath and/or bad taste in your mouth
  • Pain when chewing, teeth sensitivity
  • Loose or moving teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums

The stages of periodontal disease

Gingivitis

A mild inflammation of the gums, which may occasionally bleed when you brush and floss. No bone loss has occurred, so it is totally reversible.

Periodontitis

This is the next stage of periodontal disease. Here the gums separate from the tooth allowing bacteria to invade. The toxins they produce cause additional inflammation and bleeding. Much more damaging is the bone loss that occurs, as it is irreversible damage. With early intervention and proper care, this loss can be maintained non-surgically, preserving your teeth.

Advanced stages

In the advanced stages of periodontal disease, pronounced loss of gum attachment, bone loss, pus accumulation and eventual tooth loss are exhibited. In its earlier stages, surgical intervention may be recommended. In latter stages, there is no cure except for extractions.

Is gum disease treatable?

Removal of plaque and calculus is crucial to periodontal health. The first step in the treatment of periodontitis involves non-surgical cleaning below the gum line with a procedure called scaling and debridement. This procedure may require multiple visits and local anaesthesia. If non-surgical therapy is unsuccessful in managing the disease, periodontal surgery may be required to stop the progression of bone loss. The stabilisation of your periodontal health also depends largely on your own oral hygiene at home. Without daily oral hygiene, the gum disease will not be overcome, especially if there is a history of extensive periodontal disease.

If you would like to know more about gum disease, or to book an appointment, please contact us today.