Periodontal treatment

A serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone.

Periodontitis is common but fairly preventable. The cause is usually poor oral hygiene. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. It's a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.

Symptoms include swollen, red and tender gums.

Treatment includes professionally cleaning the pockets around teeth to prevent damage to surrounding bone. Advanced cases may require surgery.

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What is gum disease? (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)

Gum disease is a serious gum infection that damages gums, bone and the structures that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal disease has been associated with other systemic diseases 

Gum disease has two stages;

1. Gingivitis (reversible)

2. Periodontitis (irreversible)

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease and is the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is caused by leaving plaque (bacteria) along the gum line. The gum line is where the tooth meets the gum. The plaque left behind irritates the gums and causes inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body comes in contact with an irritant and the body induces an immune response in attempt to heal the infected area. 

Gingivitis is reversible, with proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques, your gums can return to good health.

However, when you leave gingivitis untreated, it may progress to the next stage of gum disease - Periodontitis.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a serious gum disease that destroys the structures that hold your teeth in place. When you leave gingivitis untreated, the gums eventually get so irritated by the bacteria, the gums start to pull away from the teeth leaving a "pocket". This pocket can become deeper over time and is extremely difficult for you to clean as well as the dental practitioner. 

To determine whether you have gum disease, the dental practitioner will use an instrument called a "periodontal probe". In healthy gums, this area will measure 0-3mm, anything over 3mm is considered to be periodontitis. 

Periodontitis can cause attachment loss, bone loss and tooth mobility. In severe cases, periodontal disease can cause loss of tooth - this occurs when the tooth no longer has enough bone structure causing the tooth to become wobbly and fall out/require extraction.

 

Signs and symptoms of gum disease

  • Swollen or puffy gums

  • Bright red, dusky red or purplish gums

  • Gums that feel tender when touched

  • Gums that bleed easily

  • Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing

  • Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth

  • Bad breath

  • Pus between your teeth and gums

  • Loose teeth or loss of teeth

  • Painful chewing

  • New spaces developing between your teeth

  • Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal

  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

Treatment of gum disease

Non-surgical scaling and root debridement

  • Is the first treatment of choice for managing periodontitis

  • Our clinicians use the latest equipment for removal of deep deposits of plaque and calculus (tartar). These include newly developed ultrasonic instrumentation and  sharp diamond gracey curettes.

  • This instrumentation is designed to reach below the gum line, areas where brushing and flossing cannot reach, including the roots of teeth

  • In early gum disease (also known as gingivitis), scaling and root planning in addition to improved oral hygiene can be enough to reduce the infective processes and prevent advancement of the disease.

Surgical treatments

 

Surgical treatment

In cases of severe periodontal disease, scaling and root debridement may not be enough to eliminate infection and restore health. The following are common surgical therapies for periodontitis:

  • Pocket Depth Reduction

  • Bone grafting

  • Periodontal Flap Surgery

  • Root coverage

  • Dental implants

For moderate-severe cases, a referral to the periodontist (specialist in treating gum disease) may be required.

What happens if I leave gum disease untreated?

Risks include: 

 

  • The gum disease progresses

  • Further bone loss 

  • Further pocketing depth

  • Mobility in tooth (wobbly/loose)

  • Loss of tooth

  • Teeth extraction

  • Periodontitis has been an associated with a number of other systemic diseases including respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cognitive impairment, obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancer

  • Periodontitis may also be associated to premature birth and low birth weight in pregnant women

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