Periodontal Disease Prevention and Treatment
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums. It is caused by plaque, a thick and sticky film of bacteria that builds up on the teeth. Plaque can later become calculus, known also as tartar.
- There are several signs of periodontal disease:
- Red, swollen, tender, painful or bleeding gums
- Gums that have shrunk from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Abscesses between teeth and guns
- The fit of a denture has changed
- Loose teeth, drifting apart of teeth and gaps appearing between teeth
The early stages of gum disease occur when plaque and calculus damage the gums and cause gingivitis and inflammation of the gums. Advanced stages of gum disease is called periodontitis, and this can cause serious damage to teeth and the gums, and bone that supports the teeth.
As gum inflammation and infection get worse, pockets form between gum and teeth, and gum may recede from the teeth. As a result, teeth can become loose, fall out or require extraction by a dentist. Periodontitis can then result in the loss of many teeth is some people.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Plaque and calculus are caused by poor oral hygiene; that is, the teeth have not been cleaned thoroughly or often enough. We recommend seeing the dentist every 6 months (or more frequently for some cases) where your dentist will check your oral health by examining your teeth and gums, and noting whether plaque and calculus are present.
Your dentist or periodontist will check for any change in the size, shape, appearance or texture of the guns that may indicate disease. Your dental history is important, and you will be asked about any problems you have had with your health and teeth.
Aside from regular preventative care from your dentist, you should also help prevent periodontal disease yourself through strict oral health routine. It is recommended that you maintain excellent oral hygiene daily by flossing, brushing and any other method that has been recommended to you by a professional. Daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth will help keep your gums and teeth clean and reduce the risk of gum disease.
Treating Periodontal Disease
The treatment of gingivitis is usually successful and involves the removal of plaque and calculus, followed by thorough but gentle cleaning (ie. Brushing and flossing daily).
The purpose of periodontal treatment is to stop or slow down the progression of gum disease. After examining your gums and teeth, your dentist or periodontist may recommend periodontal treatment. A treatment plan will be developed in consultation with you. In some cases we may recommend you to see a specialist periodontist.
Treatment may involve the following:
- Removal of build-ups of plaque and calculus using dental instruments
- Scaling: The tooth surface is cleaned to remove plaque and calculus from above the gum line and in shallow pockets below the gum line. Scaling usually only require a single visit, however in some cases it may require multiple visits to clean the whole mouth if the build-up is too great.
- Root planning: Deposits of plaque and calculus on tooth roots and in deeper pockets beneath the gum line are removed using instruments that leave the root surface clean and smooth. A local anaesthetic may be needed to numb the teeth and gums being treated. Root planning may require several visits for different areas of the mouth to be treated.
- Replacement of fillings: if a filling is contributing to gum disease, it may need to be reshaped or replaced.
- Instructions on how to improve your oral hygiene, including removal of plaque by better brushing and cleaning between the teeth,
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and reduces the chance of successful treatment.
There are side effects to the treatment of periodontal disease. Possible complications of periodontal treatment may cause paid during the scaling and root planning. A local anaesthetic may be needed to help numb the area being cleaned. In some cases tooth sensitivity may occur, this usually diminishes shortly after and can be treated with special toothpastes of a desensitising varnish applied by your dentist.
For more information on Routine examinations, Scale and Cleaning provided at Katoomba Dental Centre please follow the link