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A blog looking at the symptoms and causes of gum disease. What is gum disease? Gum disease is the inflammation of the gums and is known as gingivitis. If gum disease is not treated it can develop into periodontal disease, …
A blog looking at the symptoms and causes of gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is the inflammation of the gums and is known as gingivitis. If gum disease is not treated it can develop into periodontal disease, which can weaken the bones supporting the teeth. The main cause of gum disease is plaque, which contains bacteria and this builds up on the teeth, if not removed.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Some of the main symptoms of gum disease are noted below, but this is not an exhaustive list.
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, we would suggest that you attend your dentist and express your concerns. In the Dental Team, I come across many cases, where a patient has been attending their dentist for a number of years and they have reported, bleeding or sore gums, but have been reassured that this is normal and later they develop periodontal disease and they are at risk of losing several teeth. It is sometimes the case that the symptoms come to light when a dentist has retired or a patient attends another dentist for an opinion and the patient is then diagnosed with periodontal disease.
If you do have concerns, then I would suggest seeking a second opinion from another dentist or a different dentist at your practice.
What can I do if I have periodontal disease?
If you have periodontal disease, there is no cure for the disease and the condition can only be stabilised, with treatment. If your condition is mild, then you can usually improve this by improving your oral hygiene, which can include, brushing your teeth at least twice a day and using interdental brushes to get to the difficult areas of your teeth. However, you may require a referral to a hygienist and this may involve a thorough clean of the teeth to remove any hardened plaque, which is known as tartar.
In some cases you may require root planning (debridement) which is a deep clean under the gums, which removes the bacteria from the roots of your teeth. This treatment can be uncomfortable and you may require local anaesthetic before undergoing the treatment. If your gum disease is very severe, then you may require periodontal surgery. The cost of attending the hygienist and undergoing some of the treatment can be very costly and would not be available on the NHS.
What could happen to my teeth?
Unfortunately if treatment is not sought in a timely manner, then you could be at risk of losing teeth or several teeth. I have acted for patients, who feel very self conscious when they have lost teeth and this also can have an impact on their social life, as they are unable to eat certain foods and may not be able to go out for a meal with friends. Further, the cost of replacing teeth is expensive if you require dental implants, rather than a bridge or dentures.
Some people can also develop a psychiatric injury as a result of losing their teeth or the fear of losing their teeth, when they were unaware they had a problem. It is also often the case that a patient can lose faith and trust in a dentist and they may develop a phobia.
In order to prevent these problems, then it is important that you attend regular check ups with your dentist. When attending your dentist, they will carry out checks to monitor your periodontal health. You can also take measures to ensure that you practice good oral hygiene techniques. However, at the present time it is increasingly difficult to obtain appointments with a dentist, following the pandemic and it really can depend on where you live as to whether you are able to access services. However, I would urge you to seek an opinion where possible to try and prevent the loss of teeth.