we look forward to welcoming new patients to our dental practice in Virginia Water, Surrey
Severe gum disease
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is described as swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means ‘inflammation of the gums'. This is when the gums around the teeth become red and swollen. Inflamed gums often bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can turn into periodontal disease. As the disease progresses the bone anchoring the roots of teeth in the jaw is lost gradually, eventually making the teeth loose. Periodontitis is the 6th most prevalent disease throughout the world and significantly linked to general well-being and longevity. It is often ‘silent’ and can be present for decades without diagnosis and treatment.
Frequently asked questions about gum disease
What is the cause of gingivitis and periodontitis?
Both are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film (also referred to as biofilm) of bacteria which forms on the surface of our teeth every day. In an effort to eliminate the bacteria, the cells of the immune system release substances that cause inflammation in the gums (gingivitis) and potentially destruction of the bone around the roots of the teeth (periodontitis).
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Most people suffer from some form of gum disease at some stage in their lives, and it is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. The first sign is blood on your toothbrush or in the toothpaste you spit out after cleaning your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
What do I do if I think I have gingivitis or periodontitis?
The first thing to do is visit your dental team for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. They will measure the 'cuff' of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.
What treatments are needed?
Your dental team will remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth. You will also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively daily. This may take a number of sessions with the dental team. A good oral care routine at home with brushing and interdental cleaning (with floss or interdental brushes) is the most important thing you can do to help prevent gum disease getting worse. In cases where there is more advanced loss of bone you may be advised by the dental team to see a periodontist (gum specialist) for further treatment.
What happens if it is not diagnosed or treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease does not usually cause pain in the early stages. If it is not diagnosed and treated early on, you often will not notice the damage it is doing. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost and this can eventually lead to gum abscesses with swelling and pain and pus may ooze from around the affected teeth. As more bone is lost around the teeth they will eventually become loose and may have to be removed.
Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?
There is no cure for periodontal disease (bone loss), but it can be controlled as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught. Any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque thoroughly every day and go for regular check-ups by the dental team.
I have heard periodontal disease is linked with other health conditions – is this true?
In recent years gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia. More research is needed to understand how these links work but there is more and more evidence that having a healthy mouth and gums can help improve your general health.
How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?
Smoking is the number one modifier of periodontal disease making the disease process more damaging and less responsive to treatment. You are at least 4 times more likely to have gum disease if you are a smoker.
MAKING AN APPOINTMENT
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New patients welcomed at our dental practice in Virginia Water, Surrey
The practice is very professional and friendly, and Chris puts a patient at ease, and I would recommend the practice to friends. As my husband has Parkinsons, there is always a caring atmosphere.