Early periodontal disease is considered a ‘silent’ disease, meaning that it is painless and shows few symptoms, and people are often unaware that there is a problem. If it is left untreated it can lead to tooth loss, and it is the leading cause of this in adults. Moderate and severe forms of periodontitis (a kind of periodontal disease) are also associated with heart disease, and other inflammatory diseases.
Gingivitis is defined as inflammation of the gum, and is a form of periodontal disease. It is diagnosed by bleeding upon probing below the gum line where the gum attaches to the tooth. Unhealthy gums are often red and puffy, and may bleed even with just brushing and flossing. The treatment for gingivitis is a professional scale and polish and effective daily brushing and flossing. Our hygienists are specifically trained to treat gingivitis, and demonstrate and instruct you on the best equipment and technique for your at-home dental hygiene programme. However, if your gingivitis is left untreated it will often progress to the more serious periodontal disease, periodontitis.
Periodontitis occurs when infection and inflammation spread from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. The “stages’ of the disease – early, moderate, and severe – cause a loss of support around the tooth, may lead to them becoming loose and eventually falling out. THIS DISEASE IS NOT CURABLE but is treatable. It is diagnosed primarily by noting any bone loss on dental radiographs, and the presence of "pocketing" around the tooth. Pockets form when the attachment of the gum to the tooth deteriorates as bacteria progress further into the soft and hard tissues surrounding the tooth.
Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist are essential for the early diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, and prevention of possible tooth loss, or other more serious health risks.
Pictures from left to right
• Healthy gum - No bleeding upon probing; Gingivitis – Bleeds upon probing
• Early periodontitis – Slight bone loss
• Moderate periodontitis – 50% or more bone loss associated with heart disease