Periodontal Disease & How To Prevent It

By the time patients’ reach adulthood, their teeth and gingivae, or gums, have had quite a workout. When gums are healthy, they continue to fit comfortably around the teeth. However, most adults tend to develop some type of periodontal, or gum disease, which is an infection that damages gums and can potentially be detrimental to the jawbone.

Whilst this disease primarily affects a patients’ oral health, various studies suggest that there may be a link between gum disease and other health concerns including cardiovascular problems, stroke, bacterial pneumonia and increased risk during pregnancy. This is one of the important reasons we advise all of our valued patients’ to ensure they come by to any of our three clinics every six months for a check up. If Periodontal disease is detected, it is imperative to undergo treatment immediately. What many of our patients’ are delighted to hear is this treatment is now offered through Dental Laser at Coolangatta Dental Group.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Generally, Gum disease is caused by plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that continuously develops on teeth. If a patient doesn’t sufficiently remove this plaque thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth, gums consequently become irritated and inflamed.

When this occurs, the irritated gum tissue can separate from the teeth and form spaces, which we refer to as ‘pockets’. The more advanced the gum disease, the greater the pocket size. Bacteria move into the pockets, which contributes to the irritation. If this bacterial development is left untreated, the process can continue until the bone and other tooth-supporting tissues are eventually eradicated.

The early stage of periodontal disease is referred to as ‘gingivitis’. Gums often appear red and swollen and may bleed easily when either chewing food or brushing. The positive news is that this early stage is usually reversible. Sometimes, all it takes are more regular professional cleanings and better home care. However, if the gingivitis has progressed, more intricate dental treatment is likely required.

Prevention of Periodontal Disease

As you have probably heard before, regular dental check ups are important for every patient. During an examination with your chosen Dental provider, your gums are analysed for periodontal disease. Additionally, Dentists look at a variety of things including the colour and firmness of the gums to ascertain whether there are any issues.

Typically, a very small instrument called a periodontal probe is used to gently estimate the space between the teeth and gums. This determines whether periodontal pockets are indeed present. Generally, a normal measurement between teeth and healthy gums should be three millimetres or less.

You can help prevent gum disease by brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth with floss once a day. A Coolangatta Dental Group Dental provider may offer additional instructions on cleaning methods or products you can use at home in order to provide further protection against periodontal disease.

Bear in mind, if you brush and floss regularly, you may still not remove all the developing plaque, particularly around the gum line. Plaque can harden into rough, permeable deposits called calculus or tartar, and once this occurs, it can be removed only in the dental practice during your regular cleaning visits.

Eating a balanced diet and avoiding the use of tobacco are also helpful tips with respect to preventing periodontal disease!

Red Flags for Periodontal Disease

Many patients’ are not aware they have gum disease because often there is no pain associated. However, there are warning signs every person needs to be mindful of. If you currently experience any of the following signs, you should call a participating dentist right away.

Red Flags:

  • Gums that bleed during brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Consistent bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial denture

Periodontal Treatment & Dental Laser

Dental lasers have revolutionised dentistry with treatments that are faster, more effective and typically, less painful for patients. Laser gum surgery is available at our Runaway Bay clinic and is designed to eliminate gum disease. Periodontal laser therapy uses a dental laser to remove inflamed gum tissue from the area around the tooth. In most patient cases, two x 2-hour sessions are all that is needed to treat periodontal disease. However, ongoing care such as regular home cleaning and dental check up are necessary after laser gum therapy in order to further protect your teeth and avoid gum disease developing again.

Are you or your family members suffering from any of the red flags noted above? Connect with us to book a consultation at any of our clinics located in Ballina, Runaway Bay or Coolangatta.