Katherine qualified from Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ Dental School and went on to pursue her interest in periodontal disease, studying for a masters degree in Clinical Periodontology, Katherine focuses on treating periodontal disease, with her expertise covering both affected teeth and implants.
For more information please visit our Periodontal page or read on for a detailed description of Periodontology. Alternatively there is more information on the British Society of Periodontology website
If you are concerned about the health of your gums and would like to talk to someone please call our reception team who will be more than happy to help you. Call 01580 752202 or email email@example.com
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is inflammation of the tissues supporting your teeth. There are two main types: gingivitis and periodontitis.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. The gums become red, swollen and soft and often bleed when brushing, or sometimes spontaneously.
What is periodontitis?
Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis which is inflammation of the tooth supporting tissues, leading to irreversible bone loss. This makes the teeth loose, which, if left untreated, can result in tooth loss. Most people have some form of gum disease and periodontitis is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. In most people, disease progresses very slowly but in a small proportion of people, this disease progresses much more rapidly. Treatment would aim at improving the prognosis of the teeth to help patients keep their teeth for longer.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque is the main cause of gum disease and forms on your teeth every day. To prevent and treat gum disease it is important to remove the plaque from your teeth every day by brushing with a toothbrush and using floss or interdental toothbrushes. Smoking also causes gum disease. Smoking creates an environment in your mouth which allows more harmful bacteria to thrive. It also supresses your immune system which reduces your ability to fight off infection. Moreover, smoking reduces the blood supply in your gums thereby masking the symptoms of periodontitis. Periodontitis in smokers progresses more rapidly than in patients who do not smoke.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
The first sign may be bleeding when brushing or sometimes even spontaneously. You may have a bad taste and bad smell in your mouth. Left untreated, you may notice that your teeth start to become loose and eventually fall out. It is therefore important to treat periodontitis in the early stage. The dentist will carry out a thorough assessment of your teeth and gums to check for any signs of disease. The assessment may also include x-rays to be taken which show the amount of bone that has been lost around your teeth.
What if I do not get treatment?
Normally periodontitis is painless and the disease progresses without you noticing the damage being caused. However, if it is left untreated, abcesses can form which can be painful. Abcesses cause rapid bone loss and can therefore accelerate the disease process. Treatment later can become more complicated.
How can periodontitis be treated?
For a successful response, it is imperative for teeth to be free of bacteria. This is achieved through home cleaning with a toothbrush and interdental brushes, and you will be shown how to achieve this. Good oral hygiene is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease. If oral hygiene is sub-optimal, your response to treatment and therefore the prognosis of your teeth will also be compromised.
In addition oral hygiene, your dentist will carry out some cleaning with various instruments, under the gum to rid the pockets of bacteria.
Can periodontitis come back once I have had it treated?
As long as you clean very well at home, periodontitis can be kept under controlled. Generally we cannot grow bone back but instead you and your dentist may be able to stabilise and control the disease progression. If neglected, the teeth will eventually fall out.
Links with other diseases
There is a very strong link with uncontrolled diabetes and periodontitis. Where diabetes is uncontrolled, the periodontitis will be difficult to control. There is a growing body of evidence of an associationbetween periodontitis and heart disease. In general, having a healthy mouth will also improve general health and vice versa.