Gum Disease


What Is Meant By Gingivitis?

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen, showing that the area is inflamed. Often this swollen gum bleeds when it is brushed during cleaning.

What Is Meant By Periodontal Disease?

Long-standing gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. There are a number of forms of periodontal disease and they all affect the supporting structures of the teeth. As the disease progresses the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Do I Have Gum Disease?

Probably! Most of the population suffers from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease progresses very slowly in most people and can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

What Causes Gum Disease?

All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria, which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been identified as the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and using interdental cleaning aids such as floss or interproximal brushes.

Is Gum Disease Painful?

Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly, on the whole. However, you may occasionally experience a burst of activity by the bacteria, which makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long period of time, treatment can become more difficult.

How Will I Know I’ve Got Gum Disease?

The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Gums may also bleed when eating, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

What Do I Do If I Think I’ve Got Gum Disease?

The first thing to do is attend for a thorough review of your teeth and gums. We can measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any evidence that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.

Usually the treatment will involve giving your teeth a thorough clean. You’ll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions with one of our hygienists. For new patients to the practice we have a preventive program which we carry out in order to teach you all the skills necessary for you to maintain your own mouth.
Can Gum Disease Be Prevented From Getting Worse?

The periodontal diseases are never cured, but as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught, any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day, and return for regular dental health reviews and maintenance cleaning with the hygienist.