What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a disease of the supporting structures of the teeth and is caused predominantly by the build up of plaque around your teeth. The first signs of the disease are bleeding gums, commonly known as Gingivitis. At this stage the disease is reversible, however, as the disease progresses the plaque can attack the underlying structures, predominantly the bone, supporting your teeth, which causes pocketing (or the peeling away of the gums from your teeth). If allowed to progress this can lead to the loosening and drifting of your teeth and eventually tooth loss.
The disease follows a chronic progression and usually presents without any symptoms of pain. The problem is usually detected by your general dental practitioner, on your routine dental examination and early referral can help save your teeth.
What will my initial Consultation appointment involve?
At your initial visit there will be an initial discussion and a chance for you to discuss any symptoms you have been experiencing along with your treatment aims. Following this a thorough examination of your gums will be carried out together any necessary x-rays in order to elicit a diagnosis. We will then discuss this together and suggest a treatment plan suited to your needs in order to stabilize the health of your gums.
A detailed report will then be sent to you and, if referred by a dentist, a report will be forwarded to them. Appointments can then be made for you to carry out the gum treatment.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
The initial phase of treatment typically involves the optimization of your oral hygiene followed by scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is a procedure which leads to the removal of infection-causing bacteria and irritants from the root surface. In more advanced cases a surgical approach may be required following the initial phase of therapy to decrease the pockets. The aim of the treatment is to stabilize the health of your gums so that you can maintain your teeth.
What does Surgical treatment involve?
Periodontal surgical treatment can be carried out to treat the areas of your gums that have not completely resolved after non-surgical treatment. The aim of this minor procedure is to reduce the gum pockets around your teeth by, initially, carefully lifting back your gums to expose the roots of the teeth allowing us to better visualize and remove harmful bacteria and debris. We will also carry out small alterations to the contour of the gum and bone making it easier for you to maintain the area better. Occasionanally a degree of bone grafting can be done to regenerate some of the lost tissue around your teeth.
Surgery can also be carried out to improve the appearance of your teeth. Where the contour of your gums is irregular, this can help bring the margin of your gums into line. Alternatively, in areas of gum recession tissue can be grafted to achieve better aesthetics and make it easier to clean around the area.