Periodontitis, more commonly known as ‘Gum Disease’, is a condition caused by bacteria building up on the surfaces of your teeth, both along the gum line and below the gums. This bacteria becomes calcified by the minerals in your saliva forming what dentists’ call calculus. Over time calculus irritates the gums and underlying bone and initiates an immune response which results in inflammation (gingiviti).
Some forms of Periodontitis can be painful, however most often the disease is painless until it has reached an advanced stage. In the early stages you may notice your gums bleeding when brushing or flossing. If left untreated, the disease eventually causes irreversible damage to the bone structure supporting your teeth, causing teeth to become wobbly and eventually fall out. Untreated gum disease also causes issues beyond your mouth and has been linked to heart attack, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia and premature low birth weight babies. This is why it is so important to come to the dentist for regular check-ups and cleans.
Although the damage caused by Periodontitis is permanent, your dentist will work with you to prepare a care plan to help stabilise your condition so that you avoid any further damage. Treatment involves removing the build-up of plaque and calculus from your teeth on a regular basis. Calculus is very hard and cannot be removed by home cleaning. For patients with very advanced gum disease a thorough cleaning under local anaesthetic may be required.
Your dentist will show you how to brush and floss effectively at home so you can minimise calculus build up and keep your gums as healthy as possible between visits. We recommend brushing twice daily for a minimum of two minutes with a soft toothbrush and flossing at least once daily using the correct technique. Your dentist will also recommend a suitable time frame for you to return for professional maintenance.