Periodontal disease is often known as ‘Gum Disease’ and is a very common condition in which the gums and deeper structures of the tooth become inflamed. This inflammation in early stages is called gingivitis and it is the body’s response to certain bacteria that have been allowed to accumulate on the teeth. Left untreated, in time, gingivitis becomes periodontitis or periodontal disease.
The symptoms of gum disease are redness, swelling of gums and a tendency to bleed during tooth brushing. This inflammatory response is part of your body’s defensive reaction but can eventually cause serious damage. If left unchecked, the inflammation can spread down below the gums and along the roots of the teeth, causing destruction of the fibers, ligaments and the supporting bone, which ultimately leads to the loosening and potential loss of the teeth.
Certain risk factors can influence the development and progression of periodontal disease:
- Misalignment of teeth
- Poorly contoured fillings
- Certain medications
- Some systemic disease
Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal diseases. Smokers are up to six times more likely to show periodontal destruction than non-smokers, show a poorer response to treatment and are at increased risk of recurrence.
To find out if you suffer from gum disease, we may ask you some questions:
- Do your gums bleed on brushing or overnight?
- Are any of your teeth loose?
- Can you chew everything you want to?
- Do you have a bad taste or smell from your mouth?
- Do you suffer from pain, swelling, gumboils or blisters?
We carry out an examination of your gums during routine dental check-ups. Our dentists will visually check and record the visual status of your gums for inflammation as well as carry out a basic screening technique which score the gums.
Redness or change in contour of the gum margins or interdental areas, and bleeding on contact indicates you may have gingivitis. We treat gingivitis with a routine dental hygiene session and encouraging you to adopt a better oral care technique and routine.
A score of 3+ gained during screening may need further investigation with x-rays and a detailed periodontal measurement of each tooth or a `6 point check’ and may indicate presence of periodontal disease.