Gum Disease (Periodontics)

Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film that naturally forms on your teeth, especially around the gum line. Bacteria thrive in this plaque, especially in the gap between your gums and teeth, which can cause irritation and infection known as gum disease. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or a dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Types of Gum Disease:

Gingivitis: this is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleaning by dentists or dental hygienists. In gingivitis, the gum becomes red, swollen and can bleed easily which may or may not cause soreness. The bacterial infection is localised to the gum margins and does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.

Periodontitis: this is a more serious non-reversible condition where there is an infection of the entire structure surrounding the teeth including the bones and the gums that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissues that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed. It is often called a “silent disease” as there may not be much discomfort associated until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. It is prevalent in about 20 percent of the Australian population but can even be higher in certain Asian populations.

People with diabetes and heart conditions are at a higher risk of getting complications if their gum condition is not checked and cleaned regularly by a dentist.

Treatment involves regular Deep Cleaning (scaling and root planing) with extensive customised oral hygiene instructions. In severe cases, a gum surgery and soft tissue grafts may be required.

Any ill-fitting fillings/crowns/bridges which accumulate excessive plaque may need to be replaced.

Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the progression of gum disease. It can lower the chances of successful treatment and ideally the habit needs to be stopped.

Periodontitis requires careful diagnosis and ongoing treatment to keep it under control.

At Eastwood Dental, we are committed to making sure that your periodontal condition is in its best possible state before any major treatments are commenced.