Prevention of gum disease
Here at Corner Dental Surgery in St Helens we consider ‘gum disease‘ to be a major dental health problem. Our dedicated hygienist, therapist and dental health advisor provide education, effective, high quality treatments and preventative individual tailored oral hygiene regimes to manage gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammatory disease which effects the gums and supporting tissues. Plaque bacteria can affect the gums and can destroy the supporting bone, allowing the gums to recede, teeth to become loose, move or in severe cases to be lost. The NHS reports that gum disease affects more than half of the adults and is the UK’s leading cause of tooth loss.
Symptoms include, red swollen gums which bleed easily, halitosis (bad breath), a bad taste and in more advanced stages teeth become loose & may fall out.
Smoking, stress, medical conditions such as diabetes and a family link to early tooth loss are all factors which influence and affect gum problems.
Untreated gum disease is linked to an increase risk of heart attack, stroke and a low birth weight in new born babies.
Stages of Gum Disease:
The gums are pink in colour and are firm around the teeth. There is no bleeding or swelling present.
The gums are red, swollen, and bleed on brushing. This condition is reversible and treated by a scale and polish and prevented by effective tooth brushing and interdental cleaning.
The gums appear red, swollen and bleed. There are spaces ‘pockets’ under the gum where the bone levels have been destroyed. This condition is irreversible but can be managed and stabilised if caught in time.
Treatment for Gum Disease
Scale and Polish:
This is carried out if you have a small build up of plaque or tartar and is usually carried out by the dentist at the examination. The teeth are cleaned by hand instruments to remove plaque (soft bacteria) and tartar (hardened plaque) and stains which build up on your teeth. An effective home oral hygiene programme is provided that is tailored to your needs to ensure healthy gums are maintained.
This is carried out if you are suffering from periodontitis - permanent irreversible gum disease. You will have extensive measurements so that we can map how much bone around the teeth has been lost. This will also allow us to monitor how successful our treatment has been. Local anaesthetic to numb the area is often given and the areas under the gum & around the roots will be cleaned to remove plaque and tartar. An effective home oral hygiene programme is provided that is tailored to your needs to ensure healthy gums are maintained and the disease progression is halted or slowed down
Periodontal disease is a long term chronic condition and in order to prevent and slow the disease progression, patients will require regular appointments usually every 3-6 months.
Prevention is better than cure and regular long term maintenance visits will reduce the disease activity and identify problem areas as they arise so that we can target these areas with our oral hygiene and preventative treatments.
Can Periodontitis be cured?
No, but it can be successfully treated and controlled and so reduce further damage. Some people are genetically more susceptible to the effects of plaque and tartar. We aim to ensure that the teeth and gums are free from plaque and tartar and any factors which encourage the build up (such as rough fillings) are removed. If this is achieved we can successfully stop or slow the progression of the disease - However the first step is always ensuring good oral hygiene!!
Can I see the hygienist on the NHS?
If your dentist diagnoses that you have active gum disease that is severe enough to warrant hygienist treatment we will arrange this for you. Hygienist appointments are not available for basic scale and polishes or for routine maintenance under the NHS but we would be happy to arrange this on a private basis.