Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingivae (gums).
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the supporting tissues of the teeth. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. Bacteria create toxins that result in a reaction by the body which results in loss of bone and supporting tissues of the teeth. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because it is usually painless many people are not aware that they have gum disease.
- Remove the cause - clean your teeth well. Use a soft toothbrush and floss
- For acute infections we may recommend chlorhexidine mouthwash or an antibiotic.
Treating periodontal disease
- As per treating gingivitis - effective removal of plaque
- Any defective restorations or those that trap plaque may need to be changed so you can clean better.
- Periodontal debridement to remove calculus (hardened plaque)
How do I know if I have gum disease?
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Change in the colour of the gums
- Bad breath
- It can be a slow process, so you may have no obvious complaints.
- Dentists can tell by measuring your gums
- X-rays will show loss of bone which indicates periodontal disease. Calculus that causes periodontal disease may also be seen in x-rays
What is periodontal debridement?
This involves removing the plaque and calculus on the tooth surface using instruments called hand-scalers and an ultrasonic scaler which vibrates off the hardened material.
When the calculus and plaque is located on the tooth roots and in deep pockets its removal is usually more difficult and time consuming.
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