Gum disease, or gingivitis affects a large number of people, and it can be debilitating to live with. A dentist is always doing the best they can to help guide you through your journey to a life without gum disease. If you leave the gingivitis untreated, more serious problems can arise, and it could progress to a more serious form, periodontitis.
What causes gum disease?
The main cause of gingivitis is plaque build up. Plaque is constantly forming and gathering on your teeth, so if you don’t do the regular oral hygiene routine twice a day, then the plaque will be harder and harder to get rid of. In between your teeth and gums there is a small space called the sulcus, and this is where tiny bits of food and plaque also build up. If you leave the plaque to develop, it will become a much harder bacteria, tartar, this then causes the teeth to become infected.
Gum disease has also been shown to be inheritable throughout families, so it is important to keep up your oral hygiene to try and prevent it if this is the case.
Smoking also encourages gum disease, and can encourage the damage being done to your teeth from the disease.
If left untreated, gingivitis and periodontitis can cause your teeth to separate from their gums, causing an array of issues, such as bone and tooth loss. It only takes plaque 24 hours to turn into tartar, which is what starts off the bone and tooth loss that will eventually come if ignored.
How we diagnose gum disease
Dentists will probe your gums with a small ruler to measure for any inflammation that may have occurred, this is a sign of gum disease. They will measure the gums and the space between your teeth and gums to see if there are any abnormalities. If your dentist thinks there is some infection there, they may also refer you for an X-ray to check for any bone loss that may have also occurred.
How do hygienists help to prevent gum disease?
A hygienist will clean your teeth to a very professional standard, therefore reducing the amount of plaque build-up on the teeth and enhancing the gums. Regular attendees will be able to feel how clean and healthy their mouth is. This will also help to relieve other problems that can come from plaque build up such as gum bleeding and bad breath.
How gum disease is treated
If you have a more mild form of gum disease, this can be treated by deep cleaning of your teeth, such as scraping all of the tartar off from them. Root planing is also another way of treating this, this removes plaque and tartar build up from the teeth’s root surface.
If you leave this untreated and your gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, then this could mean you might need surgery to resolve the problems and prevent more developing in the future. Getting this surgery will remove the deep embedded plaque in your gums, as well as shaping the bones that support the teeth for added prevention.
All treatments and surgeries carry risks, make sure you discuss these with your dentist before beginning the process.