Gum disease is the term used to describe gum inflammation caused by plaque. Plaque is a sticky, bacteria-loaded colourless film that builds up in our mouths on a daily basis if unchecked. Over time this plaque collects on our teeth and gums and, if not removed, will build up on our gums, leading to inflammation and bleeding – or gingivitis.
Gums that bleed on brushing or flossing are a telltale sign of gingivitis. Most of us will suffer from this condition at some point in our lives. The good news is that, with the right treatment, the condition is reversible.
If plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth and gums for long periods, this will eventually lead to the breakdown of the supporting structures of the tooth – a condition known as periodontitis. In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected.
The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. If left untreated, the bone, gum and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and may need to be removed.
The following are signs of gum disease:
1. Bad breath
2. Red, swollen or bleeding gums
3. Gums that pull away from the teeth, resulting in a long-in-the-tooth appearance
4. New spaces developing in between the teeth
5. Changes in your bite or the way your teeth fit together
6. Loose or mobile teeth
How can I prevent gum disease?
Although brushing and flossing are equally important, brushing eliminates only the plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that the brush can reach. Flossing, on the other hand, removes plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line. To help prevent gum problems, we recommend brushing for three minutes twice a day, plus daily flossing. We also recommend that you see your hygienist or dentist every three to six months for a regular checkup and clean.
How is gum disease treated?
Here at Smile Solutions we have a large team of highly skilled and dedicated dentists, hygienists and periodontists who will first assess the overall health of your gums using a probe to measure the depth of your gum pockets. X-rays may then be taken to assess your bone levels around each tooth.
Next, scaling and root planing may be carried out. You may be given a dental injection to numb the gums to make you more comfortable during the treatment. Your teeth and gum pockets will be thoroughly cleaned (scaled) with an ultrasonic device that uses water to blast away bacteria and tartar deposits from both above and below the gum line.
Finally, your teeth and gums will then be cleaned with hand instruments which plane the surface of the roots (root planing). This results in a smooth surface which bacteria will find harder to adhere to. It also removes bacteria and tartar from below the gum line, helping to promote reattachment of the gum to the tooth.
In more complex cases you will be seen by one of our periodontists – general dentists who have undertaken further training to become a specialist. Periodontists perform different procedures to replace or regenerate gum or lost bone due to severe gum disease.
At Smile Solutions we provide you with the highest level of care possible and are able to offer you both general and advanced specialist dental treatments, all from within the breathtaking Manchester Unity Building. If you are concerned about any signs or symptoms of gum disease, or any other dental problems, please contact us at Smile Solutions.