Periodontal disease, often referred to as ‘gum’ disease, is a disease of the gums that results in the gradual and progressive destruction of the tooth supporting tissues. Affecting around 70% of the population, it is caused by bacteria in plaque at the gum line and if left untreated, can lead to loosening of the teeth or even tooth loss.
Symptoms may include bleeding gums, bad breath (halitosis), or recurrent infections in the mouth. Some patients are more susceptible to the disease than others. Several factors, including smoking, pregnancy, stress, medication, diabetes and poor nutrition, may affect the progression of the disease. Additionally, we see patients with few of the causative factors who still have advanced disease and this is why regular follow-up visits with the dentist and the dental hygienist are so important.
First, you will have a detailed consultation with our periodontist, to assess how your dentition is affected by periodontal disease. This will include measurements of your gums and x-ray examinations. You will receive information about how gum disease develops, what lifestyle factors may contribute to it in your case, and what you can do to get actively involved in the treatment. We will also consider your specific expectations and preferences.
Following this, we will be able to provide you with a detailed report and proposed treatment plan. Further planning appointments may be required in advanced cases which may include planning for the replacement of missing teeth.
You may have been referred for periodontal treatment for a variety of reasons; either for periodontitis or because you are considering cosmetic treatment which would be enhanced by some preparatory work on your gums. Once all treatment is complete we will inform your dentist of all treatment carried out and what regime is required to maintain future gum health.
If your gums do not heal following conservative management, there may still be pockets that are too deep to clean with regular oral hygiene. A pocket reduction procedure can increase your chance of keeping your natural teeth and decrease the risk of serious health problems arising from periodontal disease.
Whilst 10% of the population is susceptible to periodontitis, there are three other major risk factors: family history, stress and smoking. Stopping smoking can significantly reduce the risk. Certain diseases such as diabetes, and even obesity, can also be contributory factors.
Initially you may suffer from gums which appear red, shiny and swollen; they may bleed when you brush your teeth. This condition is known as gingivitis and if left untreated can lead to periodontitis.
We will make every effort to minimise any discomfort during treatment. Local anaesthetic is offered for all procedures.
The length of treatment varies from case to case. For gum disease problems you will require specialist treatment to bring your condition under control and should then continue a regular oral health maintenance programme. Some cases require preventative sessions every one to three months whilst others only need to be reviewed annually.
After a thorough initial examination, including x-rays, a treatment plan will be discussed and a written estimate provided. The cost will reflect the difficulty of the case, the procedures involved and the time required for treatment.