Gum Disease Management

Our teeth, which are embedded in the bone of our jaws, should last a lifetime.

Gum disease (periodontitis), is a process where the bone around the teeth is lost, resulting in the teeth loosening up and eventually becoming painful and needing to be removed.

The chief cause of this process is the fresh layer of bacteria (plaque), which settles on the gumline of our teeth every day.  If not removed by daily cleaning, these bacteria produce toxins which attack and infect the gums around the teeth.  This early infection and inflammation is known as gingivitis.

For some people gingivitis will not lead on to destructive gum disease, however for most there will be deterioration of the attachment ligament between the tooth and gum

When this ligament breaks down we get an ever deepening “pocket” between the tooth and gum.

When this pocket deepens to more than 3 millimetres, it is then too deep for a person to properly clean on a daily basis. As the pocket deepens further, the ligament between the tooth and bone continues to break down leading to the process of bone loss.  This, over years will happen quietly until a person, usually 30 or older wakes up one day and their teeth feel weak and sore with advanced bone loss.

It is then too late to save these teeth and extraction is the only option.

 

Treatment

Gum disease can be detected at routine dental checkups when we look for pocketing of more than 3mm between tooth and gum.  Also checkup x-rays will show any signs of bone loss around the teeth.

Early to moderate phases of gum disease can be treated by education on excellent daily plaque removal right around the gumline of the teeth.

If there is hard tartar building above or below the gums, this can require regular removal by the dentist.

If after all this there is still pocketing of more than 3mm, a referral to a gum specialist (periodontist) is advised for more advanced treatment to try and arrest bone loss around the teeth.

Much of treatment for gum disease is self help.  We can do what is required and give you the tools to fix it on a daily basis.

Dr Angela and Dr Sylvia have a special interest in detection and treatment of gum disease.

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