Periodontics deals with gum disease.
What do healthy gums look like?
In a healthy mouth, the gums are pale pink in colour and are firmly attached to the teeth.
What is gum disease?
The gums may appear red and swollen, and may bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis. If gingivitis remains untreated, it may spread and erode the bone that supports the teeth; this is called periodontitis. Typically the gums become separated from the teeth and may recede. As the disease progresses, the teeth become loose and eventually some may fall out. Gum disease is often associated with bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth that stick to the teeth to form plaque. These bacteria release substances that are irritable to the gums causing the change in colour and texture, and in time may form a hard deposit on the tooth called calculus. If the gums become separated from the teeth, some of these bacteria may migrate into the pouch-like space between the teeth and gums called a pocket. Here, substances produced by the bacteria can more easily affect the bone.
How can gum disease be treated?
Your dentist has referred you for treatment of your periodontal (gum) disease. This will be carried out in three stages. The primary aim is to remove the cause of the disease, which is plaque.
- Complete instruction in oral hygiene and home care will be given during visits to either Shaun Greaves or the hygienists.
- Deep cleaning of tooth root surfaces, involving removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) deposits both above and below the gum line. This is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, and modern techniques will ensure the treatment is pain free. In advanced disease, surgery may be necessary to reshape the gum to facilitate your home care.
- The long term follow-up to initial treatment is essential to ensure the teeth are kept plaque-free and, therefore, prevent the return of the disease. Some patients with severe gum problems may need to continue with specialist care.
Reminders will be sent for recall visits as appropriate. Some people, with complex dental problems, may need these preventative sessions every 1 – 3 months. Others achieve such healthy mouths that they may only require annual reviews.
How much will the treatment cost?
After a thorough examination, including x-rays, your periodontist will give you an indication of cost. This will depend on the difficulty and the time spent treating your mouth.