Gingivitis is the start of gum disease or Periodontitis. A substantial amount of people in the UK suffer from gum disease without even realising that they have it.
If left untreated, these symptoms attract bacteria that spread through gum tissue to the tooth root canals. Over time the teeth can loosen, decay and fall out.
Having regular dental check-ups help to identify the presence of gum disease in its early stages, and then appropriate treatment can prevent the spread of infection and tooth loss. Missing teeth affect how teeth bite together, nutritional choices, and accentuate oral trauma leading to bone and facial volume loss.
Ultimately, gum disease impacts an individual’s quality of life because oral and overall health suffers. Increased oral trauma causes discomfort and visible missing teeth, with changing facial contours affecting how individuals feel about themselves and their self-confidence.
We strive to provide patients with information to prevent gum disease, providing pain-free treatments to preserve existing teeth and restore damaged teeth to better health.
Defining Gum Disease
Gum disease is gingivitis – swelling or inflammation of the gum tissues. Gums appear red and inflamed with bleeding. Bleeding is more likely to occur when brushing or eating. Where symptoms are mild, individuals may not know that they have the onset of gum disease.
A major cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene, when sticky plaque builds up in the mouth, attracting bacteria. Usually, good oral hygiene practice such as daily teeth brushing and flossing after meals and before sleep work to prevent plaque build-up.
Once plaque gathers on the teeth and gums, gingivitis may easily set in, and if left untreated, may infect oral structures leading to conditions such as periodontal disease and bone loss. Teeth fall out because the bone and periodontal ligament attaching teeth to the jaw bone degenerates. A loose tooth is usually the start of tooth loss.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Normal, healthy gums appear pink and firm without swelling or unusual pigmentation. When gum disease is present, the gum tissue becomes swollen, less firm, tender and red with a mild to severe presence of bleeding.
Although some discomfort may be felt gum disease is not very painful. It can go unnoticed unless recognised by a dentist during regular dental check-ups. Individuals with gum disease may experience oral bleeding, particularly when eating hard foods, brushing teeth and flossing.
Symptoms may differ depending on how far gum disease has progressed. Severe gum disease and periodontitis may present themselves in the following symptoms:
Foul taste in the mouth and breath
Blood and pus flowing from the gums
Abscesses causing pain and discomfort
Sensitive and loose teeth
Receding gums increasing tooth appearance
With such a high proportion of the UK population affected by gum disease, all people are at risk of gum disease onset during any point in their lives. People such as those with poor oral health and diet, disabilities, health conditions and those on medications, children and the elderly, and those who smoke, are all at a higher risk of gum disease.
Neglecting oral hygiene and not having regular dental check-ups are major contributing factors. Having proper dental care substantially reduces the risk of gum disease, as patients receive early treatment and advice on how to keep the disease at bay.
At Baker Street Dental Clinic we provide patients with preventative care, education and treatments for gum disease to ensure good dental health and well-being. Patients are given treatment choices for their preference and comfort. Where patients suffer from dental phobia or anxiety, we offer relaxation treatments to ensure they receive the dental care needed to prevent gum disease developing.
Typical causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, weak immunity, health conditions or diseases, medications, oral injury and/or lifestyle factors such as an unbalanced diet and smoking. Although these multiple factors can trigger gum disease, plaque residue to which bacteria attaches and grows is the main cause.
Foods we eat contribute to plaque formation. Removing food debris through oral cleaning keeps the mouth fresh and plaque-free. Plaque causes bacterial colonisation, resulting in gum inflammation and infection. Proper teeth, gum and oral contour cleaning prevents the spread of plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
For this reason, it is vital to maintain regular oral hygiene through daily teeth brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning. Plaque develops into solid tartar that can only be removed safely without oral damage by a dentist or dental hygienist through teeth cleaning, scaling and polishing.
Through regular dental check-ups or appointment to address gum concerns, our dental professionals can assess patient oral health for signs of gum irregularities and disease.
We provide screenings for gum disease through full dental examination, X-rays and gum line probe. We establish how far the gum disease is affecting the individual, including the presence of infection in root canals, periodontal ligament degeneration, loose or missing teeth, improper bite, jaw irregularity and bone loss.
These combined screening techniques allow us to identify presence of gum disease and the extent of the condition. Appropriate treatment recommendations can then be made.
Gum disease is treatable and we have the dental professionals, who are qualified and experienced in this field, to help patients in the prevention and removal of gum disease.
Preventative treatments include teeth scaling and polishing to remove plaque and tartar build-up. Teeth are scaled and polished for a fresh and healthy mouth. Guidance is provided to patients on how best to maintain oral hygiene.
Gum disease treatments include root planing, root canal treatment, and in more severe cases, tooth extraction, bone grafting, dental implants, bridges and dentures. A periodontist will try in all cases to preserve existing teeth structure. Patients are given pain-free treatment with anaesthesia, and treatment to reduce temporary discomfort after treatment.
Prevention involves daily teeth brushing and flossing after meals and before sleep, which should include fluoride toothpaste. Combined with regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning, such as scaling and polishing, individuals are more likely to prevent the onset of gum disease.
Other preventative steps include healthy lifestyle choices, such as not smoking, reducing alcohol intake and moderate consumption of sugary and acidic foods.
Early detection of gum disease prevents further spread of the disease and tooth loss. Visiting our dentists regularly for dental check-ups helps us to screen for the disease and provide recommendations for treatment as needed.