In order to have a solid house, it should rest on a strong foundation. And the same thing is true of your teeth – without a solid foundation in your gums, your teeth, appearance, and overall health will suffer.
In Australia the average percentage of people with this disease is around 22%. People over 65 have rates approaching 53%! And gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Consequently, it is very important you recognize the signs of gum disease and know how to treat, cure, and prevent it.
At EK Dental Surgery we are here to work with you to ensure that your gums are the strong foundation of your complete dental health!
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist.
What Can Your Dentist At EK Dental Surgery Do?
When you visit us at EK Dental Surgery your dentist will:
- Ask about your medical history to identify underlying conditions or risk factors (such as smoking) that may contribute to gum disease.
- Examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
- Use a tiny ruler called a “probe” to check for and measure any pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test for pocket depth is usually painless.
He/She may also:
- Take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss.
- Refer you to a periodontist for additional treatment.
Gum Disease Treatments
There are a number of treatments available for gum disease sufferers, each of which varies depending on the severity of the condition.
In order to determine the treatment that best meets your needs, we will evaluate the extent of the damage to develop a conservative initial plan. A dental hygiene evaluation will determine if plaque (soft deposits on the tooth) is being removed on a daily basis. If not, we will suggest alterations to your daily oral hygiene habits to improve plaque removal at home.
Next, calculus (also known as tartar) must be removed by a professional cleaning, and sometimes through the additional procedures of deep scaling and root planing.
A local anaesthetic may be used during these procedures. Your dentist may also administer antibiotics to treat bacteria housed in the pocketed areas of the gum, and recommend a medicated mouthwash to be used as a regular part of your home regimen.
- If the bone has been destroyed, your dentist may employ a new technique called tissue regeneration, which involves grafting the bone to offer a better chance of bone re-growth. To strengthen thin gums, soft tissue grafts may also be used.
- Guided tissue regeneration involves the insertion of a membrane to help in the bone regeneration process.
Pocket Elimination Surgery
In some cases, surgery may be part of the treatment plan to help prevent tooth loss resulting from gum disease. Here are some surgical options:
- Periodontal flap surgery may be performed to reduce the pocket gap between the teeth and gums.
- If the jawbone has pockets housing bacteria, the bone may be reshaped through bone surgery to eliminate the pockets and help prevent future recolonisation of bacteria growth.
- Laser therapy may be used to reduce pocket size; however, no definitive evidence exists to support the idea that laser therapy helps to restore damaged connective tissue.
What You Can Do
Obviously, the first step is to practice good dental hygiene practices. But there are also other factors that can be involved in poor gum health.
These risk factors include:
- Crooked teeth
- Underlying immuno-deficiencies—e.g., AIDS
- Fillings that have become defective
- Taking medications that cause dry mouth
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Female hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives
In the case that any of these factors are involved in your gum disease, your EK Dental Surgery dentist will work with you to develop habits, strategies, and home-treatments that will minimize the risk of gum disease advancing outside of normal dental treatments.
Between an improved regimen of home care and careful, professional treatment of your gums in our Glen Waverly offices, together we can beat back that gum disease and protect your teeth!
Reasons To Smile At EK Dental Surgery!
EK Dental Surgery offers a wide range of preventative and cosmetic dental procedures for children, seniors, and everyone in between!
EK Dental Surgery is conveniently located on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.