Do you have bad breath or swollen and painful gums? You may have gum disease.
At Alphington Dental Care, our committed team works together to identify gum disease in its earliest stages so that we can help our patients bring their teeth back to health. If you notice any problems with your gums, it is a good idea to book a dental appointment immediately because gum disease can be stabilised if caught in the early stages.
What is gum disease?
Inflammation in the gums, which is called gingivitis, occurs when the bacteria in plaque trigger an immune response in the body. This is the reason why the gums become swollen and red. They may also bleed more easily when you brush and floss. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). Gum disease results in the formation of pockets around the teeth which trap and accumulate tartar under the gums. In the long-term gum disease can cause destruction of the bone that supports the teeth, which can cause them to loosen and become wobbly.
Gum disease symptoms
In many cases, gum disease will cause no pain and patients may not even be aware that they have a problem. However, there are some common warning signs that you can look out for, which may be an indication that gum disease is present. If you notice any of these symptoms, please arrange a dental appointment immediately.
- Swollen, tender, or red gums
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Bad breath which will not go away even after brushing or using mouthwash
- Persistent bad taste in the mouth
- Abscesses in the gums
How can gum disease be treated?
If gum disease is in the initial stages it can be treated with deep cleaning, which is also called scaling and root debridement. This is a minor procedure which involves the careful removal of plaque and tartar from deep beneath your gums. If this is combined with good home oral hygiene practices, the gums can be maintained in a healthy state.
If the gum disease is more advanced then treatment with a gum specialist, called a periodontist, may be required. When you see us at Alphington Dental Care, we will assess your gums and discuss with you whether specialist treatment is necessary. Periodontists have additional training as well as specialist equipment to help treat gum problems. Sometimes surgery is required to aid with the management of the disease, for instance to help reach tartar in deep pockets or to smooth irregularities on the tooth surface. If the gums have receded, then periodontists sometimes place a gum graft to repair the area of exposed root. This procedure is only appropriate for certain patients so discuss this with your dentist if you are concerned about gum recession.
If you feel that there is some problem with your gums, don’t hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment right away. You can talk to our friendly team to learn more about the treatment options.