Healthy gums helps to hold your teeth firmly in place and protect teeth from bacteria and infection. Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease which can lead to serious consequences such as loss of teeth.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues supporting and surround the teeth. It is caused by the accumulation of bacteria which causes a ”pocket” between the gums and teeth. Bacteria under the gums can dissolve the bone supporting your teeth and cause them to feel loose.
This is a silent process and most people do not find out until the tooth has to be extracted which is why we are extra vigilant when it comes to detecting gum disease.
There are three stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease — an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque build-up at the gum line. If daily brushing and flossing do not remove the plaque, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be improved, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
- Periodontitis: At this stage, the supporting bone and fibres that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage.
- Advanced periodontitis: In this final stage of gum disease, the fibres and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and, if aggressive treatment can’t save them, teeth may need to be removed.
Who is at risk of getting gum disease?
The most common risk factors for gum disease is
- poor oral hygiene,
- tobacco smoking and chewing,
- hormonal changes such as pregnancy,
- medications such as contraceptives and anticonvulsants,
- defective fillings
- ill fitting bridges
How many have you got?
What are the symptoms?
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth and/or sensitive teeth
- Red, swollen gums that bleed during or after brushing
- The affected gums are often painful to brushing.
- If you experience a bad taste or detect pus around your gums, it is likely the disease is in an advanced stage.
Excellent oral hygiene like brushing, flossing and regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash is critical in preventing and treating gum disease. You should follow a well balanced diet that does not contain drinks and foods high in sugar. Sugar helps bacteria to grow and stick to your teeth and therefore increases your risk of gum disease. You should see us every 6 months to help you identify and address your risk of gum disease.
How our Periodontal Gum Disease Treatment Works:
The goal of periodontal therapy is to prevent tooth loss. Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth. Where the gum line meets the tooth, it forms a slight v-shaped crevice called a sulcus. In healthy teeth, this space (“pocket”) is usually three millimeters deep or less.
- To evaluate the healthiness of your smile, we measure your periodontal pockets on your first visit, and then regularly thereafter. When the pockets measure more than three millimeters, it is time to take action to make sure your gums get back to a healthy state.
- Scaling and root-planing – This is the first non-surgical step we may take to remove plaque and tartar deposits on your tooth and root surfaces. This procedure helps your gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink.
- Antibiotic therapy – our dentist may also recommend medications to help control infection and pain, or to aid healing. These medications could include a mouth rinse, or a antibiotic we will place directly in the periodontal pocket after scaling and root-planing.
- Treatment of choice however is called ”Deep cleaning”. This involves local anaesthesia to numb the gums and cleaning deeply in between the gums and teeth with specialist instruments. The process requires 2-3 visits and is painless. After cleaning the bacteria off your teeth, the gum infection will resolve with good oral hygiene.