Early stage gum disease must not be ignored, advises our Cheshunt dentists.
There are two key stages to gum disease; gingivitis and periodontitis.
Of these, periodontitis is much more serious, and may result not only in unsightly and painful gum problems, but also damage to the bone structure in the jaw, potentially resulting in tooth loss.
Whilst gingivitis is an earlier stage of gum disease and does not have such potentially devastating consequences, it can also have unpleasant side effects and needs to be treated.
Symptoms of gingivitis may include:
● Bright red gums, rather than the usual healthy pink colour that they should be
● Sore gums that may cause pain to the touch
● Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
● Inflamed gums
● Receding gums
● Bad breath (halitosis)
None of these symptoms are pleasant, although their degree may vary according to how extensive the problem is. If these symptoms alone were not enough to encourage patients to have their gums examined by our Cheshunt dental hygienist, it is worth looking at the possible outcome if you don’t.
Whilst gingivitis is relatively easily controlled with good brushing, inter-dental cleaning and a regular thorough clean by the hygienist; periodontitis is a different matter altogether. It usually occurs when gingivitis has not been dealt with and the problem has been allowed to develop much further. Periodontal disease not only affects the teeth above the surface of the gum line, but goes deep down to the roots, and very often to the bone itself. This can cause erosion of the bone structure, leaving it with less ability to hold the teeth in position.
Unfortunately there is no simple cure for periodontitis and one of the few treatments available is a ‘deep clean’. This has similarities to the clean performed by the hygienist but is much more invasive. As the problem affects the teeth roots and the bones, it is necessary to clean deep down into these areas, a procedure that must be performed using a local anaesthetic and may prove quite uncomfortable. This procedure, also sometimes referred to as ‘root planing’ cannot be performed by the hygienist and will typically be done by a specialist dentist known as a periodontist.
Even a deep clean may be insufficient to control the problem, and, depending how advanced the periodontal disease is, it may not be possible to save the teeth. In these cases, we will discuss options for replacement teeth, whether dental implants or dentures, with you and what needs to be done before those treatments can proceed. The reality though, is that with a little extra care and attention, you can minimise the risk of gum disease, helping your teeth and mouth to remain healthy.
To learn how to maintain healthy gums, why not arrange an appointment with the hygienist at The Lodge Dental Suite? Appointments can be made by calling us on 01992 643388.