Gum Disease

The clinical name for gum disease is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums. It is caused by plaque, a thick and sticky film that builds up on teeth.

Plaque can harden to become calculus, known also as tartar. Plaque and calculus are caused by poor oral hygiene; that is, ineffective cleaning of teeth.

While early stage periodontal disease can be successfully treated, advanced disease can cause serious damage to teeth and the gums and the bones that support the teeth.

Some people have a genetic predisposition to periodontal disease. If you have a family member who has periodontal disease or has experienced premature tooth loss it is possible that you have a genetic predisposition to this disease and you will require ongoing periodontal care.

Current scientific evidence links periodontal health and general health. Active periodontal disease commonly coexists with other general medical concerns such as heart disease. Dr Mark Peddey and his team at Dentistry in Elwood can assist you in assessing your periodontal health risk profile.

What is periodontal disease?

Early stage of periodontal disease: Bacteria, plaque and calculus can damage the gums and cause gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis can usually be treated successfully with the professional removal of the plaque and calculus build up. This must be followed by gentle but thorough tooth brushing and flossing every day.

Advanced stage of Gum Disease: This condition is called periodontitis. It can cause serious damage to teeth and the gums, and bone that supports the teeth.

As gum inflammation and infection progresses, pockets form between the gum and teeth, and gum may recede from the teeth. As a result, teeth can become loose, fall out or require extraction.

Periodontitis can result in the loss of many teeth in some people.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

  • Red, swollen, tender, painful or bleeding gums
  • Gums that have shrunk from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Abscesses between teeth and gums
  • The fit of a denture has changed
  • Loose teeth, drifting apart of teeth, and gaps appearing between teeth

How does it start?

  • Smoking
  • Medications that restrict the production or flow of saliva in the mouth
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Poor oral hygiene

How is it treated?

Diagnosis of periodontal disease necessitates the development of a treatment plan in consultation with you. It is important that you ask questions about this treatment, the benefits, risks, time frames and fees.

At Dentistry in Elwood patients with periodontal disease are generally treated by our dental hygienists under the instruction of Dr Mark Peddey.

Tartar build up and plaque can be removed with professional cleaning. Sometimes antibiotics are necessary to control the bacteria. In severe cases periodontal surgery may be required.

If an existing restoration is contributing to your gum disease, it may need to be replaced or adjusted. Treatment also involves careful oral hygiene instruction on correct brushing and flossing technique and diet.

Dr Mark Peddey and your dental hygienist will carefully assess the results of your treatment. When a good result is achieved and your oral hygiene is adequate you will be placed on a maintenance program to maintain your oral health. Sometimes additional scaling and root planing becomes necessary during the maintenance phase.

If you do not have treatment, the risk is that gum disease may get worse, leading to tooth loss. Dr Mark Peddey can discuss with you various options to replace lost teeth with dental implants or bridges.

How is it prevented?

As Periodontal diseases tend to recur, maintenance therapy will follow all periodontal treatment and is most important. The aim is for you to to work with our dental team to prevent, monitor and control your periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease can be prevented or controlled by the following:

  • Give up smoking – Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and reduces the chances of successful treatment.
  • Excellent oral hygiene must be maintained daily
  • Plaque and calculus on the teeth roots must be routinely removed by your dental hygienist — adherence to your maintenance plan is mandatory
  • Enlarged gum pockets around the teeth need immediate treatment
  • Do not ignore your oral health during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Cost of treatment

Dr Mark Peddey treatment plans all periodontal treatment and can supply an estimate of fees. Some people ask for all the fees and the complete treatment up front. Fees vary according to the extent of disease though and the number of teeth affected. Extra costs may apply if more treatment becomes necessary. As the treatment and outcome may become different from what was first proposed, the final account may be different from the original estimate. It is best to discuss costs before and during your treatment.