Most people know that dentists treat tooth decay but did you know we also treat a lot of people with gum disease which can affect around 50% of the population.
Gum disease is a term which actually encompasses many different diseases. Most common (and mild) of all gum diseases in gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gingivae (gums). The gums become inflamed due to the accumulation of dental plaque and calculus along the gum line. This can cause red, swollen gums which may bleed easily such as with brushing.
Gingivitis can be resolved by thorough professional dental cleaning and improvement in oral hygiene. We may also prescribe a mouthwash to help reduce bacterial levels in your mouth.
We also see a lot of people with periodontitis. Many people are unfamiliar with periodontitis. Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of the gums and the surrounding supporting structures of the teeth. This inflammation is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth but triggers inflammatory responses which seriously harm the surrounding tissues.
There are significant risk factors which will increase the likelihood of being affected by periodontal disease. These include genetics (having a family history of gum disease), smoking, diabetes, heart disease and poor oral hygiene.
There are also some rarer gum diseases and issues we see including necrotising gingivitis (trench mouth), oral cancers, peri-implantitis and periodontal abscess. These can very serious and painful conditions which require urgent management.
Most gum disease can be treated with regular debridement of calculus and plaque, polishing and replacement of defective fillings, improving oral hygiene, working with medical practitioners to improve risk factors and regular ongoing periodontal care. You may also require specialist treatment from a specialist dentist, periodontist, who can help with ongoing periodontal care. Treatment will usually result in a stable ongoing oral environment and enable you to maintain your teeth for many years to come.