DENTISTRY – GUM DISEASE
What is gum disease or periodontal disease? gum disease is a set of inflammatory conditions affecting the tissues that hold the teeth together, which include the gum, periodontal, ligaments and alveolar bone in its early stage.
It is called Gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums or gingiva the part of the gum around the teeth. The inflamed gum results from bacteria that builds up in the mouth. This inflammation causes the gum to bleed during brushing. Although the gums are irritated, the teeth are left intact in their sockets. In this stage no irreversible bone or tissue damage has occurred. It is important to take Gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. If left untreated. Gingivitis can lead to very serious gum disease called Periodontitis.
Periodontitis results from bacteria that has been allowed to accumulate on the teeth and gums, allowing the inner layer of the gum and bone to pull away from the teeth and form pockets over time. The pockets become deeper, filling with more bacteria, more gum tissue and bones are also destroyed. When this happens, the teeth are not held in place. They become loose and tooth loss occurs. According to the American Dental Association, Gingivitis and Periodontitis are the major cause of tooth loss in adults. In 2015, about 538 million people were estimated to be affected. Males are more affected than females.
Causes of gum disease
gum disease is generally due to bacteria in the mouth, infecting the tissue around the teeth. This bacteria allows plaque to form on the teeth causing an inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Our mouth is full of bacteria. Plaque is a sticky colorless film that accumulates on the surface of the teeth. When starchy and sugary foods interact with bacteria in the mouth, plaques are required to be removed daily, as they reform quickly. When not removed adequately, they can harden into calculus or tartar at the base of the teeth or near the gums. Calculus can only be removed by professional dental cleaning. With time, plaque and tartar irritates the gum causing Gingivitis. If Gingivitis is left, untreated, pockets filled with plaque, tartar, and bacteria can develop between the gums and teeth, eventually causing tooth loss.
Certain factors exist that can increase your chance of gum disease. Poor oral hygiene, old age, tobacco chewing or smoking, obesity, poor nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency and underlying medical condition such as diabetes, dry mouth, genetics, substance, abuse, a condition that decreases or compromises immunity, such as leukemia, HIV, AIDS or cancer. Consuming certain medications such as oral contraceptives, steroids, channel blockers and chemotherapy. Hormonal changes, including those related to pregnancy and menstrual cycle.
Symptoms of gum disease
Bad breath that won’t go away
Bleeding gums especially when brushing.
Swollen or Red gums
Pus between teeth and gum
Changes in the way that teeth fit together when you bite
New space is developing between teeth
Receding teeth that make teeth look longer than normal.
In making a diagnosis, the doctor will review your medical history to identify any factors that may be contributing to your symptoms, such as smoking and taking certain medications. The doctor will then examine your mouth for plaque and tartar buildup and any easy bleeding.
A periodontal probe will be placed beside your tooth beneath the gum line at several sites throughout your mouth. This is done to measure the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and teeth in a healthy mouth. The depth is usually between one and three millimeters pockets. Deeper than four millimeters may indicate gum disease. X-ray of the teeth is taken to check for bone loss in areas where your dentist sees deep pockets.
gum disease can be successfully reversed if diagnosis is made early, and treatment is prompt and proper.
Professional dental cleaning – this procedure is known as scaling and includes removing all traces of plaque, tartar and bacterial products. A person with Periodontitis must realize it as a chronic inflammatory disease and lifelong care, where the professional dentist is required to maintain effected teeth. Read in more details about treatment HERE
Antibiotics can help control bacterial infection. Surgical treatment may be needed if non-surgical therapy has been unsuccessful in managing Periodontitis. This may include open flap surgery, bone grafting, as well as guided tissue regeneration.