T: 01752 343140
Periodontics in Plymouth
Gum disease, periodontitis and gingivitis
Periodontics is a specialist field of dentistry offered at Larkham House, concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, known as gum disease, a Periodontist cares for the health of the gum and bone tissue surrounding your teeth.
Gum disease is usually slow progressing, and a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected, most people are not aware that they have it. If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath. This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis.
Gingivitis only affects the gums and it is completely reversible. it occurs when tooth cleaning is not thorough enough, the bacterial deposits build up next to the gums, forming a plaque, and the conditions become suitable for more dangerous bacteria to flourish. The natural defences of the body are also compromised and the gum surrounding the tooth becomes red, swollen and inflamed. Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, often without any obvious signs to alert you.
Periodontitis, a more advanced gum disease
Periodontitis is a more serious and advanced form of the disease. It also causes inflammation of the gums, but it also causes the breakdown and loss of bone and gum around the tooth. Bone loss due to gum disease is irreversible. If periodontitis is left untreated, the teeth may become loose which could eventually lead to their loss.
What are signs of gum disease?
The most obvious signs of gum disease are:
- Bleeding gums, often when brushing or flossing teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Red or swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Pain on chewing and difficulty eating
Can I prevent gum disease?
The development of gingivitis and periodontitis can be prevented by adopting thorough oral hygiene habits, alongside regular professional examinations and support.
- Clean the chewing surfaces and sides of the teeth twice daily, with a toothbrush (of an appropriate size and in good condition) and toothpaste.
- Choose the right toothbrush for you. Your dentist or hygienist can give you advice. Electric toothbrushes can be especially good at removing plaque.
- Clean the spaces between the teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach, using either dental floss or an interdental brush, depending on the size of the space. This should be done once daily.
Periodontitis can be inherited from one’s parents and the condition can run in families. Many studies have shown that gum disease is far more common and destructive in smokers. Similarly, diabetes will exaggerate the destructive response to plaque. Other conditions that exacerbate the symptoms of periodontal disease include pregnancy hormones, stress and some medications.
How do we treat gum disease?
The type of treatment you’ll have will depend on how severe your gum disease is. Your dentist may refer you for treatment with a dental hygienist or a specialist periodontist.
The aim of periodontal treatment is to stop the inflammation of your gums and ensure the thorough removal of plaque and calculus deposits from all your tooth and root surfaces.
Once these deposits have been removed, and are maintained, the cause of the gum reaction can be eliminated, and the destructive inflammation controlled. Providing the tooth surface is kept clean and free of plaque, the gums will return to a healthy, non-swollen, non-inflamed state.
The most important aspect of treatment for gum disease is an improvement in oral hygiene and a reduction in the amount of deposits on the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist will advise you on methods and techniques that are suitable for you.
If you or your family have a history of gum disease it is important that you mention this to your dentist on your first consultation and seek a thorough assessment of your gum health.
At Larkham House, our dentists, and dental hygienists will be able to assess your susceptibility to gum disease and provide the appropriate treatment, tailored for your specific treatment needs and the best course of action for you.