What is gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria (germs) which live in the mouth. The bacteria stick to your teeth and if not removed regularly cause gum irritation. The disease may destroy the attachment of the gum to the tooth forming a pocket between the gum and tooth. The bacteria live in the pockets and can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. This can lead to the tooth becoming loose. Eventually the tooth may fall out or have to be removed by your dentist because it is painful.
- The gums are red and swollen
- Gums bleeding on tooth-brushing
- Possible bad breath
- Eventually as the disease progresses:
- Gums may shrink making the teeth look longer (recession)
- The teeth become loose
- The front teeth may move forward (drift)
- Spaces between the teeth may appear
How is gum disease treated?
Gum disease is usually treatable by your Hygienist or Dental Surgeon. When the disease is more advanced, referral to a Periodontal (Gum) Specialist may be required.
Mostly treatment is about controlling the bacteria, improving the gum health and preventing it getting worse. You cannot usually replace the support that the teeth have lost.
Various treatments are available for more severe problems including deep cleaning under local anaesthetic (Root surface debridement) and more complex surgical treatments. These will be discussed fully with your Specialist if indicated.
The important message is that tooth loss through gum disease is preventable!