Gum Disease Treatment Brisbane | Dental Clean
At your regular check-ups, your dentist will assess the health of your gums and how well your teeth are being cleaned. If you are receiving your normal check-up or hygiene appointment, then any problems with your gums will be identified early. This is one of the biggest benefits of regular appointments with your dental team.
When we think about dental health, we often think about the surfaces of our teeth, but many of us overlook the importance of our gums and the supporting tissues that hold our teeth in place.
“If you aren’t flossing, you are missing approximately 35% of your tooth surface,” says BOH Dental Hygienist Alice Canniffe.
The condition of these areas is known as your periodontal health, and without appropriate dental hygiene and oral care there is a significantly increased risk of developing Gum Disease, particularly if you are already noticing symptoms of Gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a common term that is used for inflammation of the gums, and a telltale sign of this condition is bleeding gums during brushing and flossing. While it is relatively common and affects a large proportion of the population, if left untreated it can progress to Periodontitis – a serious condition that is also known as Gum Disease.
So, if you notice an increase of bleeding or inflammation around your gums, it is important to implement preventive strategies and seek advice from your dentist as soon as possible.
Interdental brushes are one of the easiest ways to clean the areas between your teeth,
and can fit between braces and dental work that many find harder to floss.
What is Gum Disease?
Did you know that over 20% of Australians have Periodontitis?
Periodontitis, commonly known as Gum Disease, is the medical term for a range of conditions that affect the supporting tissues of your teeth.
The signs and symptoms of Gum Disease include –
- Red or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Bone loss and the formation of pockets
The formation of pockets between the teeth and gum, and loss of bone around the teeth are classic signs of Periodontitis that can be assessed by your dentist. These pockets are difficult to clean and can even act as a further source of infection.
Bleeding gums is a classic sign of Gingivitis, but can also occur when Periodontitis is established and not under control. It is one of the signs of inflammation along with discomfort and swelling.
“With proper oral hygiene, and highlighting the importance of brushing and flossing to remove plaque, inflammation will resolve and bleeding will stop,” says Dr Alana Evans.
“Establishing a combination of monitoring and cleaning, both at home and with your dental team, is the best long-term strategy for treating Gum Disease.”
Want to know more about Gingivitis?
“Gingivitis is the term used to describe the inflammation of the gums, and is reversible with improved cleaning. This can be accomplished both at home and with professional periodontal treatments – such as a scale and clean,” says General Dentist Dr Alana Evans.
If Gingivitis is not adequately assessed and treated, then typically the problem will worsen. This transition to Periodontitis (or Gum Disease) occurs as the supporting tissues and structures around your teeth are lost, and your dentist will generally confirm the extent of this with a dental examination and dental x-ray.
“Severe Periodontitis can result in mobile teeth and tooth loss. Therefore it is imperative to care for your gums and teeth alike,” says Dr Alana Evans.
The risk of developing periodontal disease increases as we grow older.
The figure (above) was compiled from data gathered by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, available in their study “Oral Health and Dental Care in Australia”.
Risk Factors of Gum Disease
Gum disease can affect anyone, particularly if your oral hygiene or daily flossing and brushing is not maintained appropriately.
However, certain risk factors may also contribute to your susceptibility to gum disease, and they include –
- Hormonal changes
- Genetic susceptibility
- Poor oral hygiene or nutrition
- Certain medications
- A misaligned bite or dental restoration
“If you are worried about any of these risk factors or are concerned that you may have Gingivitis then a consult with your dental professional is a great way to assess your oral health and commence an oral hygiene plan,” says Dr Alana Evans.
Dental Cleaning & Gum Disease Prevention
Have you ever looked at where your teeth and gums meet? These spots are particularly tough to clean, and are one of the many places that plaque and calculus like to accumulate.
Also of note, your salivary glands are situated under the tongue, and their location can cause saliva to pool on your bottom teeth. This makes them more susceptible to calculus build-up, and many people have issues keeping their lower teeth completely calculus free.
A periodontal cleaning and scaling is a thorough clean that aims to remove the built up calculus and control further plaque build-up. This is great for the long-term health of your smile!
Plaque is a collection of bacteria and cells that grows on surfaces within your mouth, between the teeth and around the gums. We call this a biofilm, and the bacteria within can cause Periodontitis and Gingivitis.
“The bacteria within plaque releases acids that harm your teeth and gums, therefore it is important to keep them clean and plaque-free,” says Dr Alana Evans.
This ‘living film’ of plaque coats teeth in a white or yellowish slime. Over time, this will accumulate and harden via a process known as calcification. This process creates calculus (or tartar) that cannot be removed with a normal toothbrush or floss.
This calculus is hard enough that it can often be mistaken for a piece of tooth when it breaks off, and if you are noticing a hard build up, than it is time for a check-up and a dental clean.
“At your regular check-ups, your dentist will assess the health of your gums and how well your teeth are being cleaned. If you are receiving your normal check-up or hygiene appointment, then any problems with your gums will be identified early. This is one of the biggest benefits of regular appointments with your dental team,” says Dr Alana Evans.
Calculus build-up, a hard substance formed from plaque, cannot be removed by normal brushing and flossing.
“It is important to have regular hygiene appointments to remove calculus, which if left untreated can cause damage to the supporting bone around your teeth. Calculus also harbors harmful bacteria, that can cause bad breath, dental decay and on-going issues with your dental health,” says Alice Canniffe.
Periodontal cleaning and scaling aims to remove all this plaque and calculus, with an overall goal to restore your oral health, prevent further calculus build up and to help you maintain a healthy and radiant smile.
Other Gum Disease Treatments
Gum disease is a progressive disease. This means that without proper treatment and an ongoing dental hygiene plan, the disease will worsen and develop over time.
Gum disease treatments for Gingivitis and the early stages of Periodontitis are generally non-surgical, such as the dental cleanings and oral hygiene already discussed. However, as the disease progresses the need for surgical treatments may arise and your dentist may even need to coordinate treatment by a specialist.
“Your general dentist is your first line of defence,” says Dr Alana Evans. “If your Gum Disease is severe and progressing quicker than our treatments can manage, then you may be referred to a specialist Periodontist for further treatment.”
Some of these surgical Periodontal treatments include –
- Gum & Bone Grafts
- Flap Surgery
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
Antiobiotics are sometimes used to help control Gum Disease, but for these medications to provide their full benefits they need to be partnered with the dental cleaning and periodontal treatments prescribed by your dentist.
“Antibiotics may help control infection, but they will not eliminate the cause of the infection. Only a proper dental clean and oral hygiene regiment will provide a long-term solution to your Gum Disease,” says Dr Alana Evans.
Brushing & Flossing Tips
Our dental hygienist, Alice Canniffe, has compiled these great tips for cleaning and maintaining your smile. You can see Alice’s top 3 tips on brushing, flossing and using interdental brushes here!
“Interdental brushes can be much easier to use than floss, and are often more effective at removing plaque in the gaps between your teeth,” says Alice Canniffe.
We look at why this phenomenon occurs, and some common conditions that can cause this.
If you want to lessen the impact acidic drinks have on your teeth, then check out Alice’s guide here.
Did you know that athletes are a group at high risk to dental cavities and periodontal problems?