Treating Gum Disease at Wickham Dental Practice
You have been given this leaflet as we would like to advise you how to improve the health of your gums. Your dentist, hygienist and yourself will have a role, so success is more likely if you can take some time to understand how the disease process occurs. We would also like you to understand how important your appointments are. You may notice your gums bleeding in areas as you brush and floss or you are concerned about bad breath or notice your gums receding and your teeth looking longer.
Scientists have found evidence that heart disease is connected to periodontal disease and the chronic inflammation we see in the mouth may lead to cardiovascular disease and strokes. It is therefore evident that treatment for gum disease can improve your overall health too.
Gum disease generally progresses painlessly, so often you do not notice the damage it is causing. The bacteria found in plaque in our mouths causes gum disease. It starts with inflammation- redness and swelling, known as ‘gingivitis’. The next stage is called ‘Periodontal Disease’ where gum abcesses may occur and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years the attachment which holds the tooth in place reduces and the bone that supports the teeth is lost. This results in mobile teeth. It cannot be reversed once it is started, but it doesn’t have to get worse, and in the majority of cases, teeth do not have to be lost from the disease.
Your dentist and hygienist will identify if you are at risk from the disease, and monitor any progression. The space or ‘pocket’ between the gum and the tooth is measured. This is minimal in healthy gums (score 0) and can progress to a score 4 (periodontal disease and deep pocketing). As these pockets become deeper the tooth attachment is gradually lost.
Reducing your risk for Gum Disease
Smoking is the most significant risk for periodontal disease. The heat from the smoke increases the attachment loss, nicotine reduces the healing capacity and impairs new bone forming and increases the calculus deposits around the teeth.
Systemic diseases, such as diabetes increases the risk of periodontal disease. Greater levels of prevention need to be maintained if you have diabetes. Evidence suggests control of periodontal disease also helps patients with their metabolic control of diabetes.
Family history: often a higher susceptibility to gum disease runs in families.
Nutrition: a well balanced diet boosts our immune systems, so plenty of fruit and vegetables and a multi-vitamin tablet can really help.
Aging fillings, crowns and bridges which collect plaque at the margins can significantly impair your efforts to maintain good oral hygiene. Implants as opposed to bridges or dentures can reduce plaque collecting.
Stress caused by major life events can increase the severity of gum disease, so let us know so we can provide you with the most effective preventative programme.
Lastly, pregnancy: Periodontal disease is associated with preterm delivery and low-birth-weight. Good oral health and preventative hygiene visits are important during pregnancy.