Gum Disease

Gingivitis (Gum Disease)

Gum disease is the second most common health condition after the common cold. It’s estimated over 80% of people will experience varying degrees of gum disease at some point in their life. Gum disease is a condition that progresses slowly. If treated in its early stage, any damage can be reversed. Periodontal disease develops from the build-up of plaque which if not removed through daily brushing and flossing, hardens to become tartar.

Gingivitis or Gum Disease is inflammation of the gums due to accumulation of bacteria. This bacteria collects around and underneath the gum causing the gums to turn from pink to red, bleed, swell, become sensitive and tender. It can also often cause bad breath (halitosis).

Periodontal Disease (Advanced Gum Disease)

If gingivitis is not treated it can advance to Periodontal Disease/Periodontitis. Periodontal Disease is characterised by irreversible damage caused to the gums and underlying bone structure. As the body’s immune responds to this inflammation and bacteria release toxins the breakdown of connective tissue around the teeth and the supporting bony structures is caused. This can result in recession of the gums and a deep gum pocket.

Advanced gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. As periodontal disease progresses, your gums start to pull away from your teeth, this creates tiny pockets where bacteria can accumulate. If left untreated, the bacteria can cause irreparable bone damage around the tooth which may then become loose and eventually fall out or have to be removed.

Treatment to prevent the development of gingivitis and periodontal disease is a procedure called root planing and scaling. This is completed using specially developed fine instruments that remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and below your gums, which cannot be accomplished with your toothbrush and floss. With the use of a local anaesthetic, root planing and scaling procedure causes little discomfort.

Depending on your current oral health, root planing and scaling appointments may be recommended every three to six months.  If you are diagnosed with severe periodontal disease, you will be referred to an appropriate periodontal specialist.

Recent studies have indicated a correlation between periodontal disease and other concerning general health conditions, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type ll diabetes and more recently pancreatic cancer. Studies are continuing to establish to what degree periodontal disease contributes to other health conditions. However, periodontal disease is an infection and like all infections that impact on your health should be treated as soon as possible.

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