Periodontal health is an important aspect of Buckle Advanced Dental Care. More teeth are lost to gum disease than tooth decay and many patients are unaware of the dangers of gum disease. Dr. Buckle and his team of specialists provide a full range of gum treatments including the treatment of gum disease, correction of receding gums with gum grafts, and cosmetic gum lifts.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. These tissues include the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease is usually a slow, painless, progressive condition. Most adults with this disease are unaware they have it but if diagnosed and treated early the teeth can be saved.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease where only the gum tissue is affected. In this stage, gum disease is reversible and treatable. Advanced gum disease affects the bone and tooth socket, known as periodontitis. It is imperative to treat advanced gum disease to stop further bone loss and prevent the loss of teeth.
What causes periodontal disease?
Plaque build up is the primary cause for periodontal disease. Plaque is a white mass of bacteria which adheres to teeth, dental crowns, dental bridges, dentures and soft tissues. When plaque is not removed it irritates the gums causing them to become red, tender and bleed easily.
Over time, plaque hardens into tartar which requires removal by professional teeth cleaning. The constant irritation from tartar results in gums becoming detached from the roots allowing ‘pockets’ to form around the teeth. Bacteria in these pockets begin to destroy bone that holds the tooth in place which may result in the tooth becoming loose and eventually lost.
The main cause of plaque accumulation is poor oral hygiene and inadequate tooth brushing technique. Other plaque retaining factors that exacerbate the condition are:
- Badly designed dentures (false teeth) which can attract plaque and may lead to further bone loss
- Faulty restorations e.g. fillings with ledges that act as a plaque trap
- Tooth decay
- Crowded teeth
- Poorly contoured crowns will act as a plaque trap
- Tobacco smoking – oral hygiene appears to be worse in smokers compared to non-smokers. A study of periodontal disease in women smokers of 20-29 years old and non smokers of 30-59 years show a level of about twice that found in non smokers.
- Orthodontic appliances (braces)
- Grooves on root surfaces
- Loose teeth can accumulate plaque and make the periodontal condition worse. Loose teeth may require extraction in order to save neighbouring teeth.
There are also a number of host factors that can worsen periodontal disease such as diabetes mellitus, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. The underlying cause is still plaque but these conditions can worsen your periodontal condition.
What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
Common signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Pus along gums and between teeth
- Changes in the appearance of teeth, such as length or spaces between teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath, bad taste in mouth
- Changes to the fit of dentures
How is periodontal disease treated?
Treatment of gingivitis is usually completed by scaling your teeth, oral hygiene advice and tooth brushing instructions. Regular appointments to ensure effective plaque removal and healthy gums will follow this appointment. These appointments are typically between 2-6 months apart and are usually one hour in length.
Treating periodontitis is a bit more complex. Treatment begins with a full mouth root planing and removal of plaque. In some cases, antibiotics may be used to treat any infections. Gums will be reassessed after a series of treatments and further treatment may be recommended. This may include antibiotic gels that are inserted into deep gum pockets, periodontal surgery, tooth extractions and dental implants.
Gum Grafts and Gum Lifts
We perform gum grafts for patients who have progressed gum recession as a result of gum disease. In addition, we provide cosmetic gum lifts for patients who have a “gummy smile” with excessive gum tissue covering the tooth.
Request an Appointment
To learn more about gum disease and treatment options, contact our Wirral dental practice for a consultation with Buckle Advanced Dental Care. Call us at 0151 353 8943 or by filling in the online form.