Treating gum disease
Periodontics is the area of dentistry that looks after the gums and supporting structures around the teeth. At Barbour Dental we offer prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease from mild gingivitis to more severe periodontitis.
How does periodontal disease occur?
Our mouths are full of bacteria which constantly form ‘plaque’, a sticky, colourless substance which, if left on the teeth, can cause enamel decay and harden to form tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing alone, but needs to be treated by a dentist or a dental hygienist.
The longer the plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the more harmful they become, eventually leading to inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis, where the gums become red, swollen and are prone to bleed. As well as daily food and drink consumption, there are several other factors that may affect gum health, including smoking, pregnancy, stress, medication, diabetes and poor nutrition.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into more serious periodontal disease, including periodontitis. The inflamed gingival area around the tooth pulls away from the teeth and forms pockets that become infected. The body’s immune system then kicks in and starts to fight the plaque as it spreads below the gum line. This immune response and the bacterial toxins start to break down the oral bone and tissues that support the teeth and they can then start to come loose and even require extraction.
With such serious consequences if left untreated, it is important to make an appointment with us straight away if you notice any signs of gingivitis, such as bad breath or gums that bleed when brushing.
How can it be treated?
Mild gingivitis can normally be reversed by daily brushing, flossing and regular cleaning by the dentist or hygienist. More advanced gingivitis will be treated with scaling, polishing and more frequent treatment sessions.
If your condition is more serious and you are diagnosed with periodontitis, the first step is to have a detailed consultation with our experienced dentists who will make a thorough examination of your mouth to determine the extent of the disease, including taking x-rays and measuring the gums. Following this, a treatment plan will be developed for you.
The plan will normally involve a number of treatments to remove the plaque from the pockets on a regular basis, to monitor the situation and to stop the disease getting any worse. At the same time, good oral hygiene is essential to prevent any further build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums.
If your periodontal disease fails to respond to treatment we can offer a referral to a Specialist Periodontist.