"We keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
We maintain them with scaling and polishing, periodontal treatment."
Gum disease, or to use its more correct term, periodontal disease, is a serious infection that affects the tooth-supporting tissues. It is believed to be caused by the presence of dental plaque, which results in inflammation of the gums (gingivae).
This inflammation in turn causes the underlying bone to dissolve, compromising the foundations and support for the tooth. It is a very common condition and affects approximately 80% of world population. For most of those affected, the condition is not severe and it can be effectively treated by regular therapy from your own dentist or hygienist..
For approximately 10-15% of sufferers the condition is far more serious, and specialist care is usually required to prevent significant disfiguring gum recession, drifting and movement of teeth or early multiple or complete tooth loss. There is also strong evidence to suggest that chronic untreated gum disease can increase the risk of other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
How to Treat Gum Disease
Happily, treatment of gum disease enjoys a very high success rate; even among patients who have had advanced destruction and generally patients who have undergone treatment have found it very worthwhile. Treatment has the benefit of significantly increasing the chance of retaining the natural aesthetics and function of your teeth, as well as having a positive benefit to your overall health.
Treatment usually involves a phase of deep cleaning, also known as root planning, under local anaesthesia. This can take up to 4 long appointments. It also requires development of a new daily oral hygiene regime, which needs to be regularly assessed and modified.
Facts About Gum Disease
- Bleeding gums is not normal
- Receding gums and tooth loss are not a normal part of ageing. It usually indicates the presence of uncontrolled gum disease
- Gum disease has an effect on your overall health and can increase the risk of development of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions
- Gum disease does not mean that the sufferer is unhygienic, it just indicates that the patient is susceptible to the disease
- Gum disease is a “silent” disease and it may not be obvious to a patient that they suffer from this condition. Regular screening by a dentist is essential
- If there is a family history of gum disease, other members of the family should be screened to determine their periodontal status
- Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss. In the USA twice as many teeth are lost due to gum disease compared to tooth decay
- Treatment of gum disease enjoys a very high success rate
- The cost of successful therapy is usually far less than the cost of replacing the diseased teeth
In some cases minor localised surgery will be required. Regular reviews are an essential part of initial therapy. Long-term successful therapy requires regular hygienist therapy. The cost of successful treatment is usually far less than the cost of replacing your teeth.
This refers to the surgical removal of excess gum tissue for aesthetic or functional reasons.
Excessive gum tissue may be a natural occurrence or it may be caused by gum overgrowth secondary to some medications. Some drugs used in the treatment of epilepsy, high blood pressure and immunosuppression are known to cause excessive tissue overgrowth.
It is important to note that use of these drugs should not be discontinued even if they cause gum related problems. A gingivectomy procedure can improve the aesthetics of the teeth if the patient has a gummy smile, and it will also facilitate daily oral hygiene.
This refers to removal of the small web of tissue that attaches from the inner lips to the gum tissue. These webs of tissue are found in every mouth, and in most cases they are quite small and do not represent a problem.
Occasionally they can be large, and they may interfere with orthodontic therapy. They may contribute to gap formation between the incisor teeth and also, if they attach close to the gum margin, they can lead to worsening gum recession and inflammation.
Minor surgery can be performed to remove this tissue. The resultant wound normally heals very quickly and without complication.
This procedure is usually indicated to treat gum recession problems. Gum recession may be caused by previous gum disease, over-zealous tooth brushing (particularly with a hard tooth brush) or occasionally following other dental therapy, such as orthodontic treatment.
The graft can usually be sourced in one of two ways. A graft may be taken from another site in your mouth, usually from the palate, or a graft may be sourced from a human tissue bank. This donor tissue is extensively treated and processed, so that a collagen scaffold is all that remains.
Once this tissue is surgically applied on the recession defect, it gradually gets replaced by your own tissue. This type of donor tissue is used in other types of plastic surgery procedures, e.g. in the treatment of burns. For most patients this is generally considered to be a very successful procedure, but the extent of defect coverage will depend on the extent of the original condition, the control of causative risk factors and the subsequent hygiene of the area.
This refers to a surgical procedure to expose more of the tooth by removal of some bone and gum tissue from around the tooth. It can be employed to treat a ‘gummy smile’ when the patient considers their smile to be unattractive as they display too much gum tissue.
It can also be used to harmonise gum margins if they are uneven, or if the tooth has a fracture or decay that extends below the gum line, that would make it difficult or impossible for the dentist to otherwise treat.
As its name suggests, it involves placing a bone graft in a site where there is a deficiency in bone volume. The most common application for this procedure is prior to dental implant placement, but it can also be used in selected cases to reverse the effects of bone loss secondary to gum disease.
The bone graft itself can take several forms, and the choice of material is to a large degree dictated by the location and size of the bone defect, and the purpose of the graft.
The main types of graft material that we employ in our clinic are: grafts can be taken from another site in your mouth (autogenous graft), specially treated bovine bone (xenograft) and synthetic bone (alloplastic) material.
This type of surgery may be considered when, after initial non-surgical therapy for gum disease, there remain some sites in your mouth where the disease continues to progress.
These areas are usually referred to as ‘deep pockets’. The aim of this surgical procedure is to create an environment around the relevant tooth or teeth, where the gum tissue has a better chance of healing and to make it easier for a patient to carry out their daily oral hygiene regimen. The ideal outcome would be elimination of the deep pocket.
This surgery may involve excision of excessive gum tissue, recontouring of the underlying bone and possibly regenerating some of the lost bone with the use of some grafting techniques.