Periodontal Disease

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Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. Eventually the gums separate from the teeth and this causes gum pockets to form. Bacteria then colonise these pockets which over time results in the destruction of the bone and gum. The deeper these pockets are, the harder it is to get the periodontitis under control.

 

Root planning
After Root Planning Treatment

See below for more information

Periodontitis is a severe and irreversible form of gum disease that is characterised by the destruction of the supporting structures of the teeth (the bone and gum). It has three different stages – mild, moderate and severe.

This can easily happen if you are not a regularly see a dental professional as gingivitis and its progression into periodontitis generally doesn’t cause pain. The warning signs people get such as bleeding are often ignored or mistaken for tooth brushing or flossing trauma. Furthermore, it is a common misconception that gum recession is part of the aging process, so this too is often ignored. If periodontitis is not first diagnosed by a dental professional, the patient may become aware that something isn’t right when they notice teeth becoming mobile, moving in position or suffer pain which can be either localised or generalised.

Fortunately it is possible to treat periodontitis and in many cases, it can be stabilised. This means that the destruction of the supporting bone and gum can be halted in its current position. Unfortunately, any bone and gum loss is irreversible as these structures do not grow back.

Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Poor plaque control
  • Infrequent calculus removal/professional cleaning
  • Genetics – 8-10% of the population are genetically predisposed to periodontitis
  • Tobacco smoking or chewing
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes
  • Medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges/prosthetics that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that have become defective

Several warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Important note – it is now widely accepted that untreated periodontal disease is a significant risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and premature child birth.

It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Professional treatments must always include a customised home care routine and can be as simple as a general professional clean. In more severe cases, it may require deep cleaning in stages with local anaesthetic.

Home care and daily plaque control is one of the most important factors in treating, preventing and stabilising periodontal disease. This is because plaque accumulates at such a rapid rate and without effective removal, gums will reinfect within days. This plaque can also harden and become calculus quite quickly if it is not effectively removed on a daily basis. A team effort between you and Dental loving care is essential to achieving and maintaining a healthy mouth.