Periodontal diseases – more commonly known as gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Diseases can range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost. Gum disease research also indicates possible health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth. As part of your general dental visit, our dentists at Southside Dental Group will examine you to determine if you have periodontal disease and suggest appropriate treatment if required.
Gum disease is technically known as “Periodontal Disease”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and bone that support the teeth.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
It is the number one reason for tooth loss. Research shows a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased risk during pregnancy.
There are several different reasons why a dental crown is required on teeth.
At Southside Dental Group Brisbane we routinely use crowns to:
Repair and strengthen damaged teeth
Teeth with extensive decay or large fillings can leave thin, weak cusps that cannot support the pressures of chewing over several years (cusps are the pointed structures of teeth that take the load while chewing)
Reinforce a structurally compromised teeth
Restore endodontically treated teeth (teeth which have had a root canals)
Improve the appearance of teeth for cosmetic purposes (including colour, shape and even alignment)
Hold a dental bridge in place
Cover a dental implant
The common signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums – gums should never bleed, even when brushing vigorously or using dental floss
- Loose teeth – caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone)
- New spacing between teeth
- Persistent bad breath – caused by bacteria in the mouth
- Pus around the teeth and gums – sign that there is an infection present
- Red and puffy gums gums – loss of gum around a tooth or teeth
- Tenderness or discomfort around teeth
The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors like the following also affect the health of your gums.
- Tobacco smoking or tobacco chewing
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Some types of medication such as steroids, types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Poor nutrition
At Southside Dental Group, we treatment gum disease over a number of stages:
STAGE 1: Removal of any build-up of plaque and calculus.
This involves 2 – 4 appointments where our dentist will use both a vibrating ultrasonic cleaner and hand scalers to remove deposits of plaque and calculus on tooth roots and in deeper pockets beneath the gum line. A local anaesthetic is required to number the teeth and gums being treated.
STAGE 2: Education on how to improve oral hygiene including brushing and flossing techniques.
STAGE 3: Reduction of smoking and dietary changes to improve the chances of a successful treatment.
STAGE 4: A long-term treatment plan will be created.
Recalls depending on the extent of gum disease will vary between 2 – 6 monthly and the gums will be monitored for improvement. In the case that there is none you will be referred to one of our associate specialists for further treatment.
Gum disease is very manageable by follow these simple steps that only take 10 minutes twice a day:
- Brush twice a day for at least 3 minutes each time and floss daily
(If you’re not sure whether you’re brushing or flossing properly, you can ask one of our dentists to show you the best techniques)
- Use a toothbrush with soft, polished bristles, as these are less likely to irritate or injure gum tissue
(Be sure to replace your toothbrush at least every 3 to 4 months – a worn-out toothbrush can injure your gums)
- Eat a healthy diet – avoid high sugar-content foods
- Do not smoke
(Cigarettes and chewing tobacco cause mouth irritation and are very unhealthy for gums and teeth)
- Regular dental care is extremely important in helping to keep your mouth healthy
(The dentists at Southside Dental Group can remove hardened plaque and any tartar that you’re not getting to with brushing or flossing. Routine care, especially cleaning, should be done at least twice a year)
- Discomfort during treatment, however local anaesthesia will be used to reduce this
- Gum tenderness – an extra soft toothbrush may be useful in this case
- Tooth sensitivity – however this reduces within a week of treatment
- Gum shrinkage over time