Gum disease developed without any obvious symptoms
What is gum disease and why does this Brisbane dentist want you to know about it?
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and involves a deep bacterial infection of the gum that dissolves the bone around the teeth. Over time, this erodes the grip or hold the gums have on your teeth and without treatment you can literally become ‘long in the tooth’ with your teeth becoming wiggly and falling out. Periodontitis (or infection around the teeth) has also been called pyorrhoea (pronounced pie-re-ah), periodontal disease, or gum disease.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Periodontitis is often referred to as the ‘Silent Disease’ as there is often no pain or discomfort until the infection is severe. Unfortunately, the damage caused by gum disease cannot be reversed, even by Bite Dental. Once it reaches the severe stage it often results in tooth loss and false teeth.
There are, however, a few signs that can indicate that you may have a problem:
- Gums that have receded, are swollen, bleed easily or are very red.
- A general malodour, or a bad taste in the mouth (particularly in the mornings)
- Loose teeth, or drifting of the teeth out of position.
- Food impaction, rapid calculus (tartar) build-up, sensitivity, or gaps appearing between teeth.
This is why it is vitally important that your Brisbane dentist regularly examines your gums to find any early signs of the disease and ensure you keep them for life. Prevention is far better than false teeth!
Rest assured that during every examination appointment at Bite Dental, your dentist will assess your bone levels from your X-rays and measure the amount of gum attachment for each tooth (pockets).
How did I get it?
Periodontitis is very common. However, a certain number of people in the community will be more susceptible because of their genetics. The actual cause of periodontitis is quite complex with current research confirming it to be a bacterial infection linked to how your immune system responds to that infection.
Often, there is a family history of gum problems or early tooth loss. This means it may not matter how regularly they visit their dentist, Brisbane patients whose genetics make them more susceptible, may get gum disease.
Other risk factors linked to gum disease include:
- The existence of other systemic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis
- Smoking rapidly accelerates the rate of bone destruction
- Pregnancy affects the normal immune function in the body, especially that of the gums
One thing that has been confirmed is that, if plaque and calculus are not removed from above and below the gum margin by a hygienist or dentist, patients may be at an increased risk of tooth loss and false teeth.
I’m fine—my teeth don’t hurt—so why visit a dentist?
As mentioned previously, gum disease is a silent, painless condition often with no real symptoms until it’s too late. Why it causes no pain is a mystery. Studies have measured the ulcer size from gum disease and found it to be the equivalent area to the inside of your forearm – and yet still produce no pain or symptoms. Patients often present only after they have noticed some movement of teeth or have a painful gum abscess. By then it is often too late for a Brisbane dentist to save the tooth or teeth.
Can gum disease be treated?
The good news is that active gum disease usually responds very well to treatment; however, it is important to understand that because gum disease has a genetic component – it cannot be cured but it can be managed. This means that some people will get it and some don’t. As we cannot change your genetics, we can’t cure your risk profile for gum disease.
What is the treatment for gum disease?
At Bite Dental, we are privileged to have a preventive care department in which our hygienist provides the treatment for gum disease management and prevention. Gum disease treatment involves the removal of the bacteria, plaque and hard scale that forms on the surface of your teeth. This is done both above and below the gum margin to make the entire surfaces of your teeth clean and smooth. We will also spend the time to develop an appropriate home-care regimen that will enable you to keep your gums healthy and ensure the disease has little chance of causing you to lose any teeth.
In most cases, this is enough to halt the attachment loss and manage the problem. However, once you have been diagnosed with gum disease you will always remain at risk as any treatment will not change how your immune system responds to this infection. This means that it is extremely important that if you have had treatment for this problem that you keep to the recommended supportive care schedule. Otherwise, the bacteria that cause gum disease will slowly re-establish themselves and the benefits from treatment will be lost.
Will gum disease treatment hurt?
Whenever a deep cleaning procedure is to be carried out we will numb the area with an anaesthetic to ensure minimal discomfort. There are a few scratchy noises but generally, the treatment is fairly comfortable. Following treatment, the teeth may be sensitive to cold drinks or food but this usually passes. You may also notice the gums shrinking and becoming firmer. This is quite normal as they become healthier, less swollen, and return to their proper shape.
Is gum disease treatment expensive?
As with all medical and dental procedures, prevention is less expensive than a cure. It is very hard to give an accurate costing over the phone as the severity of the infection and the techniques involves can vary. The best way is to make an appointment so that we can take a look and give you a more accurate quote of what fees would be expected to ensure you have a successful outcome if you require gum disease treatment.
Is there a link between gum disease and other illnesses?
There was until recently a belief that gum disease was a localised concern that had no bearing on other aspects of our health. But, continued research has now revealed to us that, in fact, it has a profound effect on our major systems. Even though the bacteria that causes gum disease occurs in the mouth, it can enter your bloodstream through your gum tissue and circulate throughout the rest of your body.
Regular dental checks with your Brisbane dentist ensure great oral health. It’s our desire that your treatment at Bite Dental is as gentle and pleasant as possible. If you have any questions about periodontal disease please call the studio.