What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal disease affects the gums, surrounding bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth.
Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms of the disease which cause loss of supporting bone. This group appears to be at greatest risk of losing teeth through periodontal disease.
It is caused by the bacteria which regularly collect on the teeth.
Why do some people suffer from this problem and not others?
Around 10% of the population is susceptible. Our knowledge is improving all the time of why this is, although 3 major factors are thought to be responsible.
Family history, stress and smoking are all important risk factors. Stopping smoking is an important part of reducing the risk of developing the disease.
Certain general diseases such as diabetes may also make an individual more susceptible.
How do I know if I have the disease?
Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, warning signs of periodontal disease include the following:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Women may experience increased gingivitis or pregnancy gingivitis beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy that increases in severity throughout the eighth month. During this time, some women may notice swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.
Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies.
Any infection, including periodontal infection, is cause for concern during pregnancy. In fact, pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small!
If you are planning to become pregnant, be sure to include a periodontal evaluation as part of your prenatal care.
What should I do if I think I might have the disease?
Regular dental examinations will ensure that a correct diagnosis is made; we will then be able to advise you on any necessary treatment. This will often include instruction in specific oral hygiene methods to help you control the bacteria that collect on your teeth.
There may also be a need to carry out some professional cleaning of your teeth. Most cases of periodontal disease can be successfully treated by us using methods such as these.
Occasionally, more complex treatments are required and here at The Waterside Dental Clinic our Periodontal Specialist Dr José Zurdo is on hand to help. Dr Zurdo has a wealth of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease; indeed, his main areas of clinical interest are the treatment of periodontal disease, hard and soft tissue regeneration, implant dentistry and cosmetic soft tissue manipulation.
The General Dental Council recognised Dr Zurdo as a Specialist in Periodontics in 2002, and since then he has gained an international reputation as a leader in his field. He is a regular lecturer nationally and internationally.
He can help with all aspects of gum disease, from second opinions and advice to full surgical periodontal therapy, cosmetic gum contouring and cures for gum inflammation.
Having placed thousands of implants, Dr Zurdo also offers all areas of implantology.