Gum Disease – A Cause For Concern

Helping our Purley patients understand the importance of healthy gums.

Whilst most people understand the importance of looking after their teeth in order to prevent tooth decay, this is probably not so much the case when it comes to care of the gums. Although most people will have heard of gum disease, it is likely that many feel that this is something which only happens to others. The fact is though, that most of us will have gum disease at some stage of our lives.

For many people, minor gum disease is transient in that it sometimes occurs when we neglect our teeth a little more than usual, perhaps when ill for example. For most people though, gum health is restored once a regular cleaning habit returns.

Longer term neglect of the gums though, can have potentially devastating consequences.

Gingivitis

Early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, occurs when the number of gingival bacteria in the mouth becomes out of control. The bacteria then attacks the gums, often causing symptoms such as soreness, inflammation or even bleeding gums.

Sometimes, this can be reversed simply through better gum health care, with better brushing and the introduction of interdental cleaning. It often requires the intervention of a dental hygienist though in order to remove the hardened bacteria, known as tartar, that has become attached to the teeth and gums. This can’t be removed by regular brushing and specialised equipment at our Purley practice has to be used to remove this. On its own, gingivitis may be uncomfortable but can be treated; however it is often the precursor to periodontitis which can have much more serious consequences.

Periodontitis

As well as producing more severe, and often painful symptoms, periodontitis not only attacks the softer gums but also the bone in the jaw. As it is this bone which holds our teeth in place, any damage can lead to teeth becoming unstable and eventually falling out where there is insufficient bone to hold them in place. Treatment at this stage is more invasive than the professional clean performed by your friendly Purley hygienist and must be performed by the dentist or sometimes a specialist periodontist at the Confidental Clinic. As well as removing tartar from the teeth and gum line, it is also necessary to clean right down to the roots of the teeth. This is a potentially uncomfortable procedure which is performed with a local anaesthetic.

Despite the invasive nature of this procedure, the reality is that there is really no reason for it to reach this stage. Although some groups, such as diabetics, are at a higher risk of gum disease, regular brushing and interdental cleaning, combined with regular visits to the hygienist at our Purley dental practice should be sufficient to keep your gums in a healthy condition for many years.

If you have not had your gum health checked for a while, why not start 2017 with a check and clean by the hygienist? Please call the Confidental Clinic in Purley today on 020 8660 8923.