ADVANCED GUM DISEASE
PERIODONTITIS (GUM DISEASE)
Periodontitis refers to an inflammatory gum response to plaque which affects around 10 percent of the world's population. Periodontitis is much more destructive than gingivitis, and cause the breakdown and loss of surrounding bone and gum. If the tissue destruction proceeds unchecked, the tooth may become loose and eventually be lost.
Healthy Tooth & Gum
Early Periodontal Disease
Advanced Periodontal Disease
SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PERIODONTITIS
Recent studies suggest that up to 50 percent of periodontitis can be attributed to genetic influences.
Therefore, periodontitis can be inherited from one's parents and the condition can run in families. This destructive reaction to plaque is also influenced by the body's immune response. Anything which suppresses your immune response has the potential to accelerate periodontal disease, such as smoking. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease is far more common and more destructive in smokers. Similarly, diabetes will exaggerate the destructive response to plaque. Other conditions that exacerbate the symptoms of periodontal disease include puberty, pregnancy, stress and some medications.
TREATMENT FOR PERIODONTAL DISEASE
The aim of periodontal therapy is to remove all plaque and calculus deposits from the tooth and root surface. Once these deposits are removed, we have eliminated the cause of the periodontal inflammation. Providing the tooth surface is kept clean and free of plaque, the gums will return to a healthy, non inflamed state.
1. Initial Periodontal Treatment:
Oral Hygiene Education
The long term success of periodontal therapy is dependent on you being able to effectively remove plaque on a daily basis. If plaque is not being removed daily, bacteria will accumulate and cause the symptoms of periodontal disease to reoccur.
Scaling and Root Planing
In the first phase of your treatment, special instruments will be used to carefully and thoroughly clean (debride) and polish each tooth and it’s root surfaces. The aim is to clean deep below the gum line and remove all deposits, right to the base of the gum pocket. This is usually completed over several appointments using local anesthetic to minimise discomfort.
2. Assessing the Response to Treatment
After a healing period of several weeks, you will be required to return for a review appointment to assess your response to the initial treatment. There can be great variation between people reaction’s to periodontal treatment, due to the different inflammatory responses to plaque and calculus within the population. Occasionally (less than 10% of the time), the areas of inflammation do not respond to scaling and root planing. In these instances, gum access surgery may be required to allow visual
observation to facilitate the removal of retained plaque and calculus.
3. Periodontal Maintenance - ‘Keeping your teeth for life’
Given your susceptibility to gum disease, you will always be at risk of further periodontal destruction. As such you will require gum assessments for the rest of your life. Any treatment we undertake will not change your body's inflammatory reaction to the presence of plaque, and thus we can never fully ‘cure’ your gum disease. However, if all the plaque or calculus is removed, there can be no inflammatory response, thus it is possible to maintain the health of your teeth and gums for the long term.
Regular reassessment visits are essential for people with periodontal disease. With continual monitoring, we can prevent the recurrence of periodontal disease in areas where plaque is inadvertently left on the teeth. Eventually a regular interval will be established which is best optimised for you to maintain your gums free of plaque and bleeding. This will be shared between
your general dentist and our periodontist.
Consequently, healthy teeth and gums can be retained for life.