Dental Hygiene treatments at Oasis can keep gum disease at bay.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is also called periodontal disease. This is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. Gingivitis is the mildest form of the disease and begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.

Periodontitis occurs when the plaque and disease causing bacteria spread below the gumline. These bacteria produce toxins which attack the tissues and bones supporting the teeth. This causes the gums to separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected and accumulate more plaque and calculus (mineralised plaque deposits which cannot be removed by the patient). As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed until eventually the teeth become loose. Often, this process only has mild symptoms until the very late stages when teeth may be lost.

Some common symptoms that patients may notice include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums 
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth 
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating 
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite 
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures.

Why is treatment important?

Some people still associate loose teeth and loss of these teeth with the natural process of ageing...fortunately we know now this to be completely incorrect! If your periodontal disease is diagnosed early and you work with your dentist/hygienist then it is possible to stabilise your gum disease, keep your gums healthy and you can keep your teeth for a lifetime!

Furthermore the identification, treatment and prevention of gum disease has more far-reaching implications than simply having a healthy set of teeth and gums for life; it may also influence how healthy your whole body is.

Periodontal disease has been known to impact negatively on many medical systemic conditions.

These include:

Diabetes: periodontal disease triggers the body's inflammatory response which can affect insulin sensitivity. This means that it is more difficult to maintain healthy blood sugar levels (glycemic control).

Heart disease: bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the cellular lining of the gums. These same bacteria attach to fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels (coronary arteries) and can contribute to clot formation and blockages leading to heart attacks.

Adverse pregnancy outcomes: to sustain a normal pregnancy, it is necessary to balance the mother's nutritional, hormonal, and immunological systems. The presence of active gum disease will change that balance. One of the resultant adverse outcomes is that a mother may go into labour prematurely.

Osteoprosis: This condition reduces the density of the bone everywhere in the body including in the jaw and the loss of the support of the teeth may cause them to become loose. This effect is amplified if there is also bacteria and infection in the mouth.

Research is still continuing to clarify the nature of these associations and other variables which may affect them.

To read more about these associations please go to .....

www.perio.org

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8063512.stm 

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/Research/ResearchResults/InterviewsOHR/TIS072005

What treatments can be done for it?

The dentist or hygenist´s role when cleaning the mouth is focused on removing soft and hard deposits from the surfaces of the teeth which harbor the bacteria causing gum disease.

A routine scaling and polish visit will removing staining, superficial deposits around the gum line and freshen the mouth. However this session alone will not address many of the long term periodontal problems which patients may be unaware of. This may especially be the case where patients have not seen the dentist in a long time and a single session is unlikely to restore the gum condition to perfect health. Like everything, timely early intervention is always better than cure.

Here at the Oasis Dental Clinic therefore we consider it absolutely essential to first assess the gum health and diagnose the existing periodontal problems in order to offer the correct periodontal treatment. As stated before it is possible to have early periodontal disease and have no obvious warning signs.