Posted on 25th April 2018
Patient’s Guide to Periodontics
Periodontics is a specialist field of dentistry that is concerned with minimising the harmful effects of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by the bacteria that live in plaque and tartar. The Gum Disease Information Bureau report that three quarters of adults over 35 are affected by the condition. Most people associate tooth loss with decay – but the most common cause of tooth loss is gum disease. We thought it might be helpful to introduce patients to the basics of periodontics and tell you about some of the treatments we can provide.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Without thorough cleaning – brushing twice a day, flossing and regular check-ups at your dentist – plaque will build up. The bacteria in the plaque may cause your gums to become red and swollen, a condition called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis – a much more severe form of gum disease. The bacteria cause the gum to peel away from the tooth, forming a ‘pocket’. The tooth-supporting bone and tissue beneath this pocket is slowly eroded by bacteria, leading to abscesses and, eventually, tooth loss. Gum disease usually progresses slowly and painlessly, meaning it can take years for sufferers to realise there is a problem – the earlier periodontal disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your dentist.
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Gum abscesses
- Receding gums
When persistent, these symptoms can serve a dramatic blow to your confidence. It’s heart-breaking to see people with receding gums or missing teeth become ashamed of their smiles. Do you find yourself hating having your photograph taken, skipping social situations and avoiding eating in public because you find the experience painful?
At an initial consultation, our specialists will establish the stage of the patient's gum condition. Periodontitis is a progressive disease with distinct stages. Once we have established what stage a patient's gums have reached, we can make recommendations for appropriate treatments.
Our Specialist Treatments
At Norfolk Dental Specialists, we offer a range of specialist treatments that complement the basic periodontal treatment you receive from your regular dentist.
- Scaling and Root Planing. A non-surgical treatment that removes plaque and tartar from affected gums and smooths the tooth root – removing bacterial toxins.
- Pocket reduction. One way in which periodontal disease damages your gums is in the formation of bacteria-harbouring ‘pockets’ between the gum and the tooth. We remove the bacteria from the pocket and secure the gum tissue back in place.
- Gum grafts. Receding gums caused by periodontal disease can lead to exposed roots. The process can be reversed by a gum graft. We’ll take gum from another part of your mouth and use it to cover the exposed root.
Our dentists are specialists in periodontal treatment. That’s why other dentists will refer their patients to our practice for treatment. If you have any questions about any of our procedures, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call our reception on 01603 632525.