Treatments range from a simple scale and polish, to remove disease-causing plaque and tartar, to root surface debridement, which involves cleaning under the gum line – an anaesthetic is sometimes required for this, however often treatment can be provided comfortably without the need for anaesthetic and sometimes several appointments may be required. In severe cases, surgery may be required to lift the gum for cleaning and reshape it for future protection. When gum disease is too advanced, tooth extraction is the only remaining option.
Your hygienist is qualified to carry out a professional deep-clean that removes plaque and tartar from areas brushing often misses. Your hygienist will also ensure you understand how to clean effectively at home, and recommend the right products and techniques for your needs. You can also consult your hygienist for professional help with diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking.
Periodontitis is the inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. The early signs of gum disease are known as gingivitis, progressing to periodontitis as symptoms worsen.
Bleeding, swollen or sore gums, and constant bad breath, are all signs that you have gingivitis. This is reversible with a good – but long-term – cleaning routine.
The first thing to do is visit your dentist for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The dentist can measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.
The consequences of not treating gum disease are serious. If the symptoms of swollen and bleeding gums are ignored, the gums can start to erode and the teeth will lose support and possibly fall out. This is known as periodontitis, a disease which can be controlled but not cured.
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