6 months ago
Periodontal or gum disease is a fairly common condition that can affect anyone at any given point in time. At its early, mildest stage, it is called gingivitis, a condition characterised by red, swollen, tender gums that bleed when brushing the teeth. Gingivitis results when plaque is allowed to build up sufficiently in the mouth that the gums become irritated and sore. Plaque, a sticky, colourless film of bacteria, food debris and saliva, can irritate the gums as well as cause tooth decay.
Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to become periodontitis, an advance stage of the disease wherein pockets form between the teeth and within the inner layer of the gums. As the pockets progressively grow deeper, accumulating even more plaque, they destroy gum tissues and bone and loosens the teeth. Gum disease, if neglected, can also lead to complications like acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG), a condition marked by ulcerations between adjacent teeth. Unless treated, ANUG can completely destroy gum tissues and in rare instance can lead to gangrene in the cheeks and lips. Periodontitis is also marked by chronic bad breath.
Plaque, the primary cause of gum disease, is relatively easy to remove. Good oral hygiene can prevent, even treat mild gingivitis. Brushing the teeth using fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes at least twice a day, flossing the teeth and cleaning the tongue, visiting the dentist at least every year for checkups and getting regular professional dental cleaning will usually suffice to keep you free from gum disease. During a professional cleaning session, your dentist will routinely scrape of the plaque and tartar, which is plaque that has already hardened, from above and below each tooth’s gum line. In certain cases, if your dentist finds that you have too much accumulated tartar below the gum line, you may be asked to undergo scaling and planing procedures. This may be done under local anesthesia and involves a deeper cleaning of the gums to completely remove bacteria from the roots of the teeth.
Periodontal disease at its advance stages may already necessitate surgical treatment. For instance, at Oatlands Dental Lounge, we do surgical procedures that can help regenerate bone and tissue destroyed by bacteria. This is under the care of a Periodontist – a Dentist who has a special interest and post graduate qualifications in managing severe gum disease.
Periodontists not only clean deeper, more infected sites, but they also can make bone or soft tissue grafts and/or introduce tissue-stimulating proteins to help regenerate the damaged structures. Cosmetic or restorative surgery can also be carried out to repair any disfigurement that may have been left behind by gum disease complications. We can provide flap surgery or pocket reduction surgery for those who have been afflicted by severe periodontitis. These procedures will not only improve the appearance of their smile by reducing the pockets or the space between tooth and gum, it will also decrease their risk of gum disease recurrence as cleansability is improved.
At Oatlands Dental Lounge, following a professional dental gum cleaning or after a periodontal treatment, we also make it a point to provide our patients with a comprehensive written follow-through home-care guide that would match their specific case requirements. With regular examinations we can ensure that the good oral hygiene is maintained.