According to the British Society of Periodontology (BSP), more than 45% of adults in the UK are suffering from periodontal disease. It has been estimated that every 3rd out 4 British citizens are suffering from gum disease. However, we have good news for you. Periodontal problems can be prevented. This article explains everything you need to know about gum disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is a condition in which there is inflammation of the gums, bones and the tissues surrounding the teeth. In the initial stages, it only involves the gums. However, in its advanced stages, periodontal disease results in the destruction of the jaw bone, and even tooth loss. It is also known as the silent killer, as it not only damages oral health, but it can also cause severe, even life-threatening medical conditions.
Therefore, you should visit us immediately for a check-up if you suspect that you have gum disease.
How can I recognise periodontitis?
The first sign of periodontitis:
- Red, swollen and sensitive gums or other pain in your mouth
- Soft gum bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when chewing hard foods (eg. apple, bread crust)
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose, separating teeth or a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Constant metallic taste in your mouth
If you experience one of these mild symptoms it is likely that you have periodontitis disease.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The primary reason for the development of periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene maintenance. When regular brushing, flossing and dental check-up visits are ignored, a thick layer of food particles, known as the plaque starts to form on our teeth. With time, this layer hardens and gets converted into the calculus. Unfortunately, plaque and calculus provide the ideal environment for harmful bacteria for living and breeding. While doing so, they release harmful toxins which destroy the gum tissue and fibres attaching the teeth to the gums and jaw bone. As a result, gaps start appearing between the gums and teeth which promote further plaque deposition and aggravate the situation. If dental treatment is not sought in time, the teeth start becoming mobile and ultimately fall off.
You can find out more information regarding the causes and management of gum diseases here.
What are the Stages of Gum Disease?
There are three different stages of gum disease, depending on their severity:
- Gingivitis – this is the earliest stage of gum disease in which the harmful toxins released from the bacteria residing in the plaque and tartar result in inflammation of the gums. This condition is clinically manifested in the form of swelling, redness, and tenderness of the gums. Also, the gums may start bleeding while brushing or eating. Also, due to the irritation of the bacterial toxins, the gums begin to recede towards the roots. As a result, the teeth start appearing longer, and there are higher chances of sensitivity and cavity formation in the roots.
- Periodontitis – in this stage, the inflammation extends from the gums into the bone and fibers that hold the teeth in place. As a consequence, a gap, or “pockets” start to appear between the gums and the teeth. Also, there is a destruction of the bone which surrounds the teeth. As a result, the teeth become mobile. Bad breath may also develop because of the underlying gum and periodontal tissue inflammation.
- Advanced Periodontitis – this is the final, and most severe stage of gum disease. During this stage, the damage to the gum tissues and the jaw bone is so severe that the teeth become extensively mobile in their sockets and ultimately fall off. In very advanced cases, there is so much bone loss because of the inflammation that it there is insufficient bone density available to support a denture or an implant for replacing the missing tooth.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Treatment of periodontal disease involves removal of the underlying cause, and it is altered according to the severity and stage of the condition. Gingivitis is a reversible condition which can be overturned with strict oral hygiene maintenance. If required, your dentist may also perform professional teeth cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar deposits.
Treatment of periodontitis is not that simple and may require surgical intervention. Here’s how we manage cases of early stage and advanced periodontitis:
- Deep Cleaning and Root Planning – as we have discussed already, the root cause of periodontal problems is the attachment of plaque and calculus to the teeth. Therefore, they will perform deep cleaning, which involves the removal of plaque and calculus from the surface of the teeth and the root surface which got exposed due to gum recession. Afterward, we will polish the tooth to prevent re-attachment of plaque in the future. This is known as root planning.
- Open Curettage – sometimes, deep scaling is not sufficient to reduce the inflammation. In these cases, we will raise a flap of your gum tissue under anesthesia to expose the gum pockets. We will use special instruments to remove all the debris from the region and then re-attach the gums back to their normal position while ensuring that there is are no gaps or “pockets” between the gum and tooth. This will help the gum fibres to re-attach with the tooth and jaw bone.
- Bone Augmentation – advanced periodontitis results in widespread destruction of the jaw bones which may cause tooth loss. Therefore, to restore the density and volume of the bone which supports the teeth, we will use a bone graft obtain from your body, or from artificial sources to the fill the defect. Gradually, the bone will start to form in the area, and the teeth will become firmly embedded in their sockets once again.
- Photodynamic Therapy – at the clinics of Tibor Dental Group, the priority is to avoid surgical procedures which take a long time to heal. Therefore, dentists use very strong and safe Helbo lasers which are an excellent alternative to the conventional periodontal surgical procedures. In-house research by the manufacturers claim that the Helbo lasers are not only useful in accelerating the healing process, but they also kill 99% of the bacteria inside the inflamed gum tissues. Therefore, they are also an excellent alternative to conventional surgical and antibiotic therapy.
What Happens if I Don’t Seek Treatment for Periodontal Problems?
Now, that’s a terrifying and dangerous situation. Gum disease not just affects your teeth; instead, it can play havoc in other parts of the body as well. Firstly, the bacteria present in the inflamed gums can be absorbed into the bloodstream where they can cause serious, even life-threatening heart problems. The harmful bacteria can also enter the respiratory organs and cause pneumonia and other severe respiratory diseases. Finally, they can travel into the digestive system and cause gut problems. Therefore, you should take gum problems seriously and seek treatment at the first sign of infection.
Why Choose Tibor Dental for Periodontal Disease Treatment?
At Tibor Dental Group, we are committed to providing the highest level of dental care to our esteemed patients. That is why we have state of the art equipment and some of the most qualified and experienced dentists in town. Our priority is to treat dental problems without surgical intervention. Therefore, we use the Helbo lasers which are highly effective in getting rid of bacteria which cause gum inflammation.
Although periodontal disease is regarded as a silent killer, it can be easily prevented through strict oral hygiene maintenance and regular check-up visits. If you or anyone else around you is having inflamed gums or bad breath, it could be a sign of underlying gum disease. Therefore, you should not waste any time and visit us immediately for treatment. Periodontal disease is entirely reversible if treated at early stages. So, call us for an appointment or visit us today, and let us take care of your problems.