It is a disease affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.
With gingivitis, only the gums are affected. They may become dark red, swollen and bleed when you brush or eat. Bad breath or taste may also occur. It is caused by a sticky layer of plaque (bacteria) on the teeth.
In people who are susceptible to gum disease, this may progress to periodontitis. Plaque remaining on the teeth causes the attachment of the gum onto the tooth to break down, forming a space or a 'pocket'. In this pocket the toxins (poisons) from the bacteria cause an infection that destroys the supporting bone. This may occur gradually and is initially quite painless, but it may result in the teeth becoming loose, uncomfortable and requiring extraction.
Often we can point to factors in the medical or family history, such as certain medications, diabetes, smoking or stress that may explain this, but sometimes we have no idea what is different about your immune system that makes you more susceptible and more liable to lose teeth.
The first indications of problems are usually:
We are learning more all the time about how oral health, and particularly periodontal health, can affect your general health. There is a considerable amount of research to suggest that poor oral health may be linked with heart disease, strokes, diabetes and low birth weight babies.
You will meet our specialist Dr Bhuva. She will go through a detailed history of your condition, and together you will identify any contributory problems. She will then carry out a thorough examination of your teeth and gums and take any necessary x-rays. You will then be taken in detail through the causes and treatment of your periodontal (gum) condition. There will be ample time to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have.
If left untreated, periodontitis can result in severe gum pockets and bone recession, causing teeth to become loose and even fall out.
Although there is no cure for periodontal disease, it can be controlled as long as you maintain a thorough and regular oral care routine which removes plaque every day. Specialist treatment with our periodontist should be followed by regular visits to the hygienist and dentist.