Treatment for Periodontal Disease (GUM DISEASE)
Gum disease is the most common human disease. Some people are not susceptible, some develop severe gum disease even though they have meticulously clean their teeth.
After we clean our teeth and brush away the dental plaque, this soft bacteria layer slowly builds up once again. In some susceptible adults their bodies immune system over-reacts to this bacteria. In doing so the body not only damages the bacteria it also damages itself. The enzymes that the bodies immune cells release dissolve the bacteria and the bone and gum that support the teeth. Over time this means bone loss, loose teeth and deep gum pockets around teeth that makes them very difficult to clean.
Very rarely, gum disease can affect children’s teeth. Gum disease is however the main reason for the loss of teeth in adulthood. The signs that you have gum disease are:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums on tooth brushing
- Bad taste or smell
Gum disease is not really that painful a condition until the advanced stages when teeth become very loose and painful gum or tooth abscesses develop.
Your dentist checks your gums carefully each time you have an examination and regular dental x-rays help identify any bone loss around your teeth.
The good news is with regular treatment the progression of gums disease can be decelerated.
This treatment usually requires 3 visits, one long visit then two short ones. Afterwards you attend a dental hygeinist for maintenance treatment with regular check-ups with your dentist.
At the long appointment your teeth are meticulously scaled and the hard deposits which house bacteria and their toxins are removed. This is a largely painless procedure using a local anesthetic. If your a nervous patient you may prefer a simple sedative procedure to make this time consuming treatment more pleasant.
The aim of this treatment is to remove as much of the bad or ‘vandal’ bacteria from the gum pockets as possible. An antiseptic gel is applied around all teeth and in the gum pockets and this give the gums the opportunity to heal.
This treatment is very successful and afterwards patients experience gum healing. The follow up appointments enable the application of the antiseptic gel.
Afterwards the improvements in gum healing are maintained by the patients home care. This involved meticulously cleaning the dental plaque of teeth twice a day using tooth brushes, Tee-pee brushes (small brushes) and dental tape or superfloss. It is this ‘home care’ that is the most important treatment in keeping gum disease away.
A professional tooth cleaning by a dental hygeinist is beneficial to keep the difficult to reach placed spotless and prevent bad bacteria building up in the gum pockets. They are expert at using specialist instruments shaped to clean every surface of every tooth in our head! They also polish our teeth after cleaning. Smooth, polished surfaces attract less bacteria and this makes our teeth feel fresh and clean too.
What about antibiotics?
After treatment if gum disease is slow to heal, antibiotics may be considered. If patients are very susceptible the periodontal disease and the healing is poor after treatment a referral to a specialist periodontologist is recommended for a specialist opinion and treatment.