8th September 2020
Spotlight On Gum Disease
If you suspect – or your Dentist has diagnosed – gum disease, it can seem like a scary and uncertain time. You might be worried for the future and ashamed or embarrassed about your past oral care. But gum disease is surprisingly common, and our friendly and experienced Denstists here at our Maidstone dental practice will do all they can to help you get back on track with your mouth, gums and teeth.
In this post, our Dentists talk through this condition, including ways to identify a problem, how to get help with treatment and what this entails, and what to do in the future to avoid problems.
With gum disease (gingivitis), bacterial infections are usually to blame. Beneath the gums are tiny spaces where food can become trapped, leading to a build-up of plaque (bacteria). If this extends deeper into the gums, it can then harden into tartar, which can only be removed by your Dentist, and can also cause infection or gum disease.
Your Dentist can help identify whether you have gum disease through X-rays and checking for signs of inflammation. They can also use a small ruler to check pockets round the teeth.
If you smoke, have diabetes, or take certain medications, you might have a higher risk factor for the disease. But it can also be caused by genetics, problems such as broken fillings or poorly-fitting dental appliances (such as dentures), or simply from having crooked teeth. And, during pregnancy, levels of hormones can leave your gums more vulnerable to gum disease.
There are lots of ways you might be able to tell (or your Dentist may discover) you have gum disease. Common symptoms include bleeding and inflammation, pain, and redness. However, there can be other signs that something’s wrong – the gums may look like they’re pulling away from the teeth, or your teeth may feel loose. You might also have bad breath that won’t go away.
As well as your usual oral routine, scaling and root planning may be recommended by your Dentist, in order to help remove tartar and plaque. Not only can this help clean above and below the gums, but it can smooth and clean the root surfaces.
In more severe cases – such as where gum disease has developed into periodontitis – you may require surgery, medication and grafting to restore your mouth.
A good oral routine should always be your first concern with your smile, as well as regular check-ups with your Dentist. Prevention is always better than cure, and could help prevent more serious side-effects such as tooth loss.
If you’re concerned about any aspect of your dental care, talk to our Maidstone dental practice to see how we could help.