You may hear your dentist or hygienist talk a lot about periodontal disease (gum disease). It’s the reason why they ask you how often you brush and floss your teeth, come in for professional cleaning on a regular basis. So why are we so passionate about telling our patients about this?
- Periodontal Disease is the number 1 reason for tooth loss. Not decay or trauma; but gum disease. This is because the bacteria in plaque can inflame the gums and eat away the jaw bone surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, the teeth will eventually become loose as there isn’t enough supporting structure to keep the teeth firm.
- Periodontal Disease is painless. Much like high cholesterol does not cause chest pain until you have a heart attack, gum disease usually does not cause any pain. You may notice a bit of blood on the toothbrush, or the gums shrinking away, but not have any discomfort until an abscess has formed or the tooth becomes so loose it hurts to eat.
- Periodontal Disease can affect your overall health. Science has found a link between gum disease and other systemic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, preterm birth rate, lung conditions and Alzheimer’s disease. Take a look at this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MInY2ZASgKU
- Periodontal Disease can be transferred to another person. While gum disease is not contagious in the traditional sense like catching a cold. However, during activities like kissing, sharing drinks, or eating utensils, we do exchange bacteria with each othr. This doesn’t mean you will get the disease, but it can increase your risk if your partner has the disease..
- Bone Loss from periodontal Disease is usually
permanent – Once the supporting bone around the tooth has been lost it does not regenerate. However with professional treatment as well as the right regime at home the loss of bone can be stopped by the gums reattaching to the ligament around the tooth closing any deep pockets.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
The good news is that if caught early periodontal disease doesn’t mean that your teeth will be lost and you are destined to a life of health complications. When you visit us here at Duncraig Dental Care we will give you a gum score, this will indicate if you have periodontal disease and if so how progressed it was. Below are the 4 stages of periodontal disease:
Bacteria (plaque) is present, gums appear to be red and puffy around the teeth. Gums may bleed when touched with a dental probe or a toothbrush. Requires routine active maintenance clean to restore gums to pristine health.
2. Early Periodontal Disease
Hardened bacteria (calculus/tartar) is present causing further infection and bleeding. This indicates the problem has been occurring a bit longer. The treatment is the same as for grade 1 but may require more specialised clean if bacteria are getting under the gums.
3. Moderate Periodontal Disease
Hardened bacteria have now started to eat away at the supporting bone around the tooth. The gum has started to pull away from the tooth causing a pocket 3.5 – 5.5mm deep and is an indication of a serious problem. A more detailed periodontal charting is needed together with a more specialised deeper cleaning. To treat this condition, Professional active maintenance appointments are required every 3-4 months.
4. Advanced Periodontal Disease
More supporting bone has been eaten away and the pocket depths are deeper than 5.5mm deep. At this point the teeth may become loose and infection (pus) could be oozing from the gums. This is a sign of advanced periodontal disease. It requires multiple visits for more specialised care (root planning). A referral to a periodontist for specialised care may be necessary. Often such teeth with deep pockets become infected and may need to be removed to prevent the spread of infection to neighbouring teeth.