Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease - Identification & Treatment

Periodontal disease is one of the most widespread diseases across the world. However, it is preventable and can be easily treated when it is found early enough.

Periodontal disease is another name for gum disease, which is caused by bacteria that collects at the gum line in the form of dental plaque. The plaque needs to be removed by brushing and cleaning between the teeth twice a day. If not properly cleaned, the gum starts to come away from the tooth - forming pockets that allow the plaque to grow below the gum line.

Periodontal Disease Treatment London

The stages of Periodontal Disease

There are two major stages of periodontal disease - gingivitis and periodontitis. The earlier stage (gingivitis) is a mild form of gum disease caused by plaque build-up around the gum line which causes inflammation of the gums. If you neglect to brush or floss your teeth daily, this plaque build-up will trap bacteria and cause gum disease. Your gums will appear red and swollen and you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss. If properly treated, it may be reversed.

Left untreated, gingivitis turns into periodontitis. During this more destructive disease stage, the supporting bones and fibres that hold your teeth in place have been irreversibly damaged, as bacteria penetrate the deeper pockets of tissue. If the bone that supports the teeth is destroyed, the gums shrink and eventually the teeth become wobbly and fall out.

Periodontal Disease London

Who can get gum disease?

According to research, gum disease affects three-quarters of all adults over the age of 35 in the UK. Most people can get mild gum disease but some people are susceptible to more aggressive forms.

There are a few factors that put people at higher risk of getting severe gum disease.

These include:

  • Genetics
  • Diabetes (especially if poorly controlled)
  • Smoking (possibly including e-cigarettes)
  • Stress
  • A poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals
  • Obesity
  • Certain medication

If left untreated, gum disease can lead to bad breath, loose teeth and painful gums. The best way to avoid or manage gum disease is by practising good oral hygiene and visiting a hygienist at American Smile regularly.

In addition, some types of prescription drugs may also increase the risk of gum disease so please mention during your visit to American Smile if you are taking any of the following:

  • Steroids
  • Cancer therapy drugs
  • Oral contraceptives
  • An anti-epilepsy drug
  • A calcium channel blocker

How do you know if you have a periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is usually pain-free (sometimes called ‘the silent disease’), so you may be unaware of it until your dentist or hygienist checks for it.

Here are some ‘red flags’ - symptoms you may notice that should raise concern:

  1. Bleeding gums when brushing (or even while eating)
  2. Red and swollen gums
  3. Bad breath
  4. Spaces appearing between your teeth
  5. Loose teeth, or teeth moving position in your mouth
  6. Receding gums
  7. Sensitivity to cold or hot food and drink

If you smoke or take nicotine products, this may mask the first symptom of gum disease which is bleeding gums.

What does periodontal disease treatment involve?

Treatment aims to reduce bacteria around your teeth and prevent the disease from getting worse. Generally though, treatment cannot replace the support your teeth have already lost.

  1. You will be taught the best methods of cleaning your teeth and gums to remove dental plaque. Treatment will only work if you clean your teeth properly, twice a day, to a high standard
  2. You need to clean daily between your teeth with interdental brushes - or floss if the gaps between teeth are too tight for brushes. You should also use a small-headed toothbrush or a good quality power brush, which your dentist can help you choose.
  3. The tartar above the gum-line can be removed by your dentist/hygienist
  4. Any bacteria below the gum line can be removed by your dentist deep-cleaning your teeth. You can ask for an injection to make your gums and teeth numb if you prefer.
  5. Mouthwashes may help with very mild gum disease but may mask more serious gum disease

What are the benefits of the gum treatment?

Your gums will be healthier and you may notice such benefits as:

  1. Greater confidence of a fresher mouth
  2. Gums not being sore or bleeding when you brush
  3. Your teeth may become less wobbly
  4. Less discomfort when you eat
  5. Ultimately, you will keep your teeth for longer

We are currently offering free gum health check-ups.  During the check-up, our periodontal expert, Dr Suraj, will evaluate your gums for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. You are welcome to book a slot to give your gums a full health check.

At our advanced dental clinic in Chelsea, Dr Suraj will help you through the screening as well as identify the best possible treatment option for your gums, should you need it. Please contact us to schedule an appointment if you are worried about any of the symptoms mentioned on this page.

Periodontal Treatment at American Smile

  1. Periodontal consultation 
    To help ensure the very best results for our patients, each case needs to be carefully planned. This may include:

    • Screening of your gums and teeth - Photography for treatment assessment, planning and recording
    • Ask about your previous dental experiences and your expectations. He will listen to you and talk through any concerns you have.
    • Perform a screening of your gums and assess your overall gum health.
    • Perform an oral cancer screening of your lips, tongue, cheeks, palate, the floor of your mouth, and the opening of your throat. If there are any contentious signs, we will immediately refer you for a detailed assessment by a specialist. Dr Suraj will take notes on any areas of concern and discuss them with you afterwards.
    • Provide specific advice on how to keep your gums and mouth disease-free, including oral health and dietary advice. He will also provide you with a detailed treatment plan and other suggestions to give you a healthy mouth.
  2. Individual probing of periodontal pockets and detailed charting of teeth.
    This helps us to see the current detailed state of your gums. X-rays maybe taken to see your bone levels. The results of this will show us which areas need to be focused on during treatment.
  3. Treatment
    This can be scaling and root planing or surgical treatment.
  4. Review

Questions & Answers

What are receding gums?

Receding gums happen when the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth's root. When gums recede, gaps can form between your gum and your tooth, allowing disease-causing bacteria to build up.

Long teeth
One of the early symptoms is the visible lengthening of your teeth. When gums recede because of periodontal disease, the teeth have the appearance of being much longer than normal. This can also be accompanied by the appearance of black spaces or gaps between your teeth.

Exposed roots
Exposed roots are another symptom and can be extremely sensitive and uncomfortable. They are often a sign of periodontal disease, or can be attributed to brushing too aggressively with a toothbrush with hard bristles.

Loose teeth
When you are suffering from receding gums you may notice your teeth become loose, which can be attributed to bacteria and periodontal disease under your gums around your teeth. As receding gums worsen, the gum pockets deepen due to the loss of an attachment structure.

Left untreated, gingivitis turns into periodontitis. During this more destructive disease stage the supporting bones and fibres that hold your teeth in place have been irreversibly damaged, as bacteria penetrate the deeper pockets of tissue.

If the bone that supports the teeth is destroyed, the gums shrink and eventually the teeth become wobbly and fall out.

Gum disease alone has been linked to strokes, respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes and ulcers.

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