What is gum disease?


Gum disease or periodontal disease, is an infection of the soft tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth.

What are the causes of gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly coats our teeth creating toxins, which damage our gums.

What are the different stages of gum disease?
Gingivitis – The early stage of gum disease

  • The gums become red and swollen and may also bleed easily.
  • A painless period, which is why it is ignored or unnoticed
  • Can be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing

Periodontitis – The more advanced stage

  • Bones and gums become very damaged
  • The teeth may
    • Become loose and eventually fall out or
    • They may have to be removed by your dentist

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

  • Red, swollen or tender gums.
  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
  • Gums that appear to have pulled away from the teeth.
  • Loose teeth.
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
  • Pus between your teeth and gums.

What are the complications of gum disease?

  • Periodontitis
  • Tooth loss
  • An increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Difficulty controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
  • Pregnancy complications
    • Premature babies
    • Low-birth weight

How is gum disease diagnosed by your Leeds dentist?

  • Medical History Gathering – The Leeds dentist will gather your complete dental and medical history
  • Physical Examination
    • Inspection of the Gum Area – The Leeds dentist will closely examine the gum area for signs of plaque,
    • Periodontal Screening and Recording- painless procedure used to measure and determine the severity of periodontal disease by measuring pocket depth using a periodontal probe. Pocket depths greater than 3 mm indicate disease.
    • Testing Tooth Movement – Loose or shaky tooth indicate gum disease
  • X-rays – to show any loss of bone structure supporting the teeth

How can your prevent gum disease?


Follow a good routine for dental hygiene- To prevent the formation of plaque

  • Brush your teeth twice using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between the teeth

Regular dental checkups and cleaning
Visit your Leeds dentist for regular checkups and dental cleaning

How can your Leeds dentist help you in treating gum disease?
If your periodontal probing reveals a pocket depth greater than 3mm, it is a good indication of periodontal disease.  However, the disease in its initial stages can be managed and retarded if the right interventions are made.  Treatments offered by Leeds dentist include
Scaling and root planning
The deep-cleaning procedure which requires three to four visits within a period of two weeks

  • The Leeds dentist numbs the area with a local anaesthetic
  • A vibrating ultrasonic device is used to scrape tartar from the visible part of the tooth.  This is known as scaling
  • The Leeds dentist then cleans out the pockets formed around the tooth using a curette, removing any diseased soft tissue as well in the process
  • The curette is then used to smooth out the surfaces of the tooth.  This allows the gum tissues to heal and also prevents accumulation of plaque.
  • The tooth is then polished with an abrasive paste.

Antibiotics

  • Antibiotics are prescribed to aid in significant healing as well as pain control following scaling and planning
  • Antibiotics such as Periostat®, are also prescribed separately to prevent and treat gum disease.
  • Leeds dentists also make use of therapies where they insert a variety of threads and gels containing antibiotics into the space between the tooth and gum after deep cleaning, which slowly releases plaque-fighting substances.

Surgery
If on follow up after your scaling and planing procedure, the pocket depths still measure above 3mm, the Leeds dentist will recommend surgical options to reduce

  • Pocket size
  • Remove diseased tissue
  • Reshape bone or regenerate new gum and bone tissue

The surgical options are as follows

  • Pocket depth reduction or flap surgery
  • The Leeds dentist numbs the area with local anaesthesia
  • Small incisions are made in the gum and the gum is lifted back to expose the tooth and bone
  • The Leeds dentist then cleans the entire area carefully, removing all tartar and infected granulation tissue
  • The bone is examined and the bone tissue recontoured to permit the gum to heal properly.
  • The gums are then sutured in to place on top the bone. 

The procedure will take 1 to 3 hours to complete

  • Tissue regeneration or soft tissue graft

The Leeds dentist recommends this procedure when as a result of gum disease either

  • your gums have been damaged or
  • the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed

For damaged gum – The Leeds dentist takes a soft tissue graft from your palate and sews it to the damaged site in order to prevent further gum recession.  This further covers exposed roots, thereby protecting them from decay and making them less sensitive to hot or cold foods and liquids.

For damaged bone –

  • The Leeds dentist exposes the damaged bone by flap surgery
  • A bone graft is then surgically placed into the defect, which will stimulate new bone growth at the site.
  • Crown lengthening
  • The Leeds dentist numbs the gums using a local anaesthetic
  • A laser or surgical methods are used to reshape the excess gum as well as bone tissue in order to reveal more of the natural teeth
  • The Leeds dentist places a temporary puttylike substance over the gum line to protect the gums as they heal
  • Maintenance therapy
  • After your treatment go on for regular check ups to your Leeds dentist so that he can examine and assess your gums, your bite and remove new plaque and tartar
  • Practice good dental hygiene to prevent further gum disease