Gum disease, which dentists call periodontitis, is a serious problem amongst patients of all ages, although it becomes much more prevalent in adults after the mid to late thirties. There are many different types of gum disease which have different treatment needs.
Gum disease is a progressive condition that attacks the attachment between the gums and the teeth (the periodontal ligament). This can happen over a few months or may take years to progress. Eventually though this damage will make the teeth loose. With further progression the teeth become so unstable that they are lost. In the latter stages of the disease it is also common to get painful abcesses on the gums and a bad taste in the mouth. Although the disease is still treatable at this stage it is much easier to correct it before this when simple treatment may be all that is needed. Because dental health has improved in the UK there has been a increase in gum disease because as people do not lose teeth due to decay there is time for gum disease to become apparent and now more teeth are lost due to gum disease than any other cause.
It is also a common misconception that gum disease is either untreatable or that treatment is expensive or ineffective. Neither is true: If caught in time gum disease is extremely responsive to treatment and treatment can be simple and inexpensive.
One problem with gum disease is that it has few symptoms in the early stages and tends to be spotted late on after significant damage has been done, which may then prove difficult to treat. We are very enthusiastic to encourage people with gum disease to recognize the symptoms early and arrange some treatment while it is still simple to fully correct the problem. If you have any of the following symptoms then you could have gum disease and a consultation to check this out would be a good idea:
- Bleeding from gums, especially while brushing your teeth.
- Gums that look puffy and red or ulcerated in appearance
- Bad breath or a metallic taste in your mouth
- Deposits of tartar (calculus) near to the margin of the gum
- Teeth that feel more mobile than they used to
- Teeth that have drifted from their original position
- Pain or swelling associated with the gums
If you do have any of these symptoms then don’t leave things hoping it will settle; gum disease is a chronic disease and can only be cured by professional treatment. The earlier this treatment is started the easier and more cost effective it is to resolve the problem.
Periodontal Initial Consultation (60 minutes) £125
Active Periodontal Treatment from £450 – £1150
Periodontal Supportive Treatment
This would be carried out after complete healing by the referring clinician or their Dental Hygienist. Alternatively, on the referring clinician’s request Resolution is happy to perform supportive care.
Performed routinely by our Dental Hygienist (30 minutes) £46
Performed by Periodontist on special request (30 minutes) £95
Periodontal Reassessment (60 minutes) £75
We have various payment options available for treatment; please click here for more information.
What is gum (periodontal) disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. In its early stages, it is usually painless, and many people are not aware that they have it. But in more advanced stages, gum disease can lead to sore or bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by dental plaque — a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on teeth. Regular brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. But plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
What is periodontitis?
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis (which means “inflammation around the tooth.”) In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form “pockets” that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s enzymes fighting the infection actually start to break down the bone and tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Is gum disease a normal part of aging?
No, gum disease does not have to be a part of growing older. With proper dental hygiene and regular dental visits, people can reduce their chance of developing periodontal disease as they age.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in older adults.
Can gum disease cause problems beyond the mouth?
In some studies, researchers have observed that people with periodontal disease (when compared to people without periodontal disease) were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling their blood sugar. But so far, it has not been determined whether periodontal disease is the cause of these conditions.
There may be other reasons people with periodontal disease sometimes develop additional health problems. For example, something else may be causing both the gum disease and the other condition, or it could be a coincidence that gum disease and other health problems are present together.
More research is needed to clarify whether gum disease actually causes health problems beyond the mouth, and whether treating gum disease can keep other health conditions from developing.
In the meantime, it’s a fact that controlling periodontal disease can save your teeth — a very good reason to take care of your teeth and gums
What are the risk factors for gum disease?
There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing periodontal disease.
- moking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease and can even lower the chances for successful treatment.
- Hormonal changes in women can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Diabetes puts people at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
- Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also affect the health of gums.
- There are hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medicines can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue; this can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean.
- Some people are more prone to severe gum disease because of their genetic makeup.
Are there ways to prevent gum disease?
Yes, you can prevent gum disease with proper dental hygiene and regular cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist. Specifically, you should
- brush your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste).
- floss regularly to remove plaque from between teeth. Or use a device such as a special pick recommended by a dental professional.
- visit the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning.
- not smoke.
- eat a well-balanced diet
How is gum disease diagnosed?
The dentist will ask about your medical history to identify any conditions or risk factors such as smoking that may contribute to gum disease.
The dentist or hygienist will also
- examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
- use a tiny ruler called a ‘probe’ to check for and measure any periodontal pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters.
- take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss.
The dentist or hygienist may also
- take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss and to examine the condition of the teeth and supporting tissues.
- refer you to a periodontist. Periodontists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease and may provide you with treatment options that are not offered by your dentist.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
People are not often aware they have gum disease until it is advanced. Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem and should be checked by a dentist.
- 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
Sometimes gum disease has no clear symptoms.
What are possible treatments for gum disease?
Treatments may include deep cleaning, medications, surgery, and bone and tissue grafts.
What is deep cleaning treatment?
In deep cleaning, the dentist, periodontist, or dental hygienist removes the plaque through a method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.
When is surgery used to treat gum disease?
Surgery might be necessary if inflammation and deep pockets remain following treatment with deep cleaning and medications. A periodontist may perform flap surgery to remove tartar deposits in deep pockets or to reduce the periodontal pocket and make it easier for the patient, dentist, and hygienist to keep the area clean. This common surgery involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar. The gums are then sutured back in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth again.