Dental hygiene treatment includes professionally cleaning the teeth for the patient. This is usually called scaling and polishing. However, perhaps our most important role is showing the patient the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque.
The dentist also plays an important role in treating gum disease. Screening for gum disease forms an integral part of your routine examination.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease manifests itself through swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main kinds of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the medical name for the inflammation of the gums. This happens when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Frequently, the swollen gums bleed during tooth brushing.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-lasting gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease. There are a number of various types of periodontal diseases and they all have an adverse effect on the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease worsens with time, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw can be lost, making the teeth loose. If no treatment is taken, the teeth may ultimately fall out.
What causes gum disease?
All gum diseases have plaque as the cause. Plaque is a thin layer of bacteria that forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in the plaque are harmless. However, there are some bacteria that have proven to be the cause of gum disease. For prevention and treatment of gum disease, you need to make it a habit to remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is best done by tooth brushing, flossing and interdental cleaning.
What are the consequences, if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses stealthily and painlessly so that you do not notice the harm it is doing. Still, the bacteria sometimes get more active which can make your gums sore. This can progress to gum abscesses and pus may ooze from around the teeth. If this is allowed to persist over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. Gum disease should not be left untreated for a long time, as the treatment can become increasingly more difficult. Early or preventative intervention is advantageous.
How can I tell that I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you brush your teeth. In some instances, your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become noticeably unpleasant.
Amit Patel recommends using Oral B electric toothbrushes for his patients, some of which can be seen below;