Gum Disease

Each tooth plays an important role in your oral health

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What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an inflammatory disease that attacks the gums, bone and other supporting structures causing loss of teeth. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky colourless film of bacteria that is continuously formed on the teeth. Plaque contains potentially harmful bacteria. Plaque irritates the gum, causing them to become red, tender and swollen. It causes the gums to bleed easily, a condition called Gingivitis. Also, your body defends itself against bacteria by producing increased levels of enzymes which begin to break down tooth, bone and gum tissue. Eventually, the tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth is destroyed by the irritant in plaque. The gums pull away from the teeth and small pockets become filled with more plaque. Eventually, the jawbone supporting the teeth is destroyed, a condition called Periodontitis.

 

Periodontal disease is usually a slow painless, and progressive disease. Most adults with gum disease are unaware that they have it. If diagnosed early the teeth can be saved.

Other Contributing Factors

In addition to plaque, a number of factors cause gum disease including:

Physical and chemical irritants.

Impacted food

Smoking

Chewing tobacco

Excessive alcohol consumption

Improper use of dental floss and toothpicks

Oral conditions or habits that cause abnormal stress on the mouth tissues.

Badly aligned teeth

Poor fitting bridges or partial dentures

Defective fillings

Habits such as grinding

Clenching teeth

Chewing ice and bones

Unbalanced Diet.

Evidence shows a link between nutritional deficiency and the body’s ability to fight off infection. Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to gum disease.

Pregnancy.

Disease.

Certain Medications.

Increased hormone levels may aggravate a condition commonly reffered to as “pregnancy gingivitis”.

Diabetes, uremia, liver cirrhosis, anemia and leukemia may affect the health of your gums.

Oral contraceptives, anti-epilepsy drugs, steroids and cancer therapy drugs may also affect the gums.

What Are The Signs?

Treatment

Helpful Tips

Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing

Red puffy and tender gums

Pain when chewing

Calculus or tartar build up

Teeth that seem loose, extra long or that change position

Changes in your bite

Changes in the way your partial dentures fit

Persistent band breath or a bad taste in your mouth

Teeth that are overly sensitive to hot or cold

Scaling and root planning removes the tartar and soft tissue lining the periodontal pocket. This helps eliminate the inflammation and reduce the pockets and restore gingival health.

 

Gingivectomy is the surgical removal of the soft tissue of the wall of a pocket to eliminate the depth of the pocket.

 

Flap surgery allows visibility and access to the root of the tooth for removal of calculus, plaque and diseased tissue. The gum is then sutured back into place.

Practice appropriate home care such as brushing and flossing at least twice a day.

Eat a well-balanced diet.

Examine your mouth routinely for any signs of gum disease or other oral changes.

Visit your dentist a least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and oral examination.

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Dental Affiliations

American Dental Association

MISCH International Implant Institute

American Society for the Advancement of Anesthesia in Dentistry

The International Congress of Oral Implantologists

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