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What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal Disease is usually painless therefore you may not be aware that you have it.

Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms of the disease which can cause loss of supporting bone. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque which regularly collects on the teeth and under the gum line.

How do I know if I have Periodontal Disease?

Symptoms are often not noticeable until the disease is advanced.
They include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away or bad taste
  • Red swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums on brushing
  • Loose teeth or drifting teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

How is Periodontal Disease treated?

Thorough cleaning of the root surfaces of your teeth below gum level. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of your gum disease.

Treatment requires good daily oral care at home. Modifying certain behaviours such as stopping smoking, will help improve the treatment outcome.

What happens if Periodontal Disease is not treated?

As gum disease progresses painlessly the damage it can cause is not always noticeable.

However, if left untreated it can lead to gum abscesses leading to pus ooze from around your teeth.

Over a number of years, the bone supporting your teeth can be lost causing teeth to become loose and eventually lost. If the Periodontal disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

What are the treatment aims?

To return your gums to good health and help prevent progression of the disease. Most importantly to save your teeth. Once we have achieved good gum health you will be referred back to your dentist, we I provide them with a full report of the treatment performed and a maintenance programme.


What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a titanium metal screw which is placed into the jaw bone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting screw are known as ‘implants’.

Are implants safe? How long will they last?

Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. 95% of modern implants last for at least 15 years.

I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?

YES. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set.

Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your implant dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first. This treatment can also be performed by your implant dentist.

Do implants hurt?

Placing the implants requires a small surgical procedure. This is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. Sedation may also be arranged. You will not usually feel any pain during the procedure but you may feel some discomfort during the following week. This is usually due to having stitches in place and a degree of swelling that is expected as part of the healing process.

Can I have the new teeth straight away?

NO. The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a small temporary partial denture in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.

How long does treatment take?

It can take between 3 to 6 months from the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth or dentures are finally attached to the implants. A lot depends on how complicated your treatment is. Your implant dentist will be able to give you an estimated timescale once the dental implant has been placed.

Are the teeth difficult to clean?

Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. You will be shown techniques to help you to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants?

IT IS POSSIBLE, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems.

Do the implants show?

Your implant dentist will make sure that the implants will not show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips.

Do I need an implant for each missing tooth?

NO, unless you’re only having a single tooth replaced. For several missing teeth, two or three implants may be used to support a bridge. To replace all the teeth in one jaw a minimum of six implants is usually required, as each implant can usually support two teeth.

Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?

Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the implant dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.

What happens if the implant does not integrate into the bone?

This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there.

Is the treatment expensive?

In many situations the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional treatment with crowns and bridges. Dental implants can be expected to last for 15 years, at least. Many patients with dental implants would consider this treatment as a worthwhile investment in their health and well-being.

There are other advantages too. An implant to replace a single tooth avoids the need to cut down the teeth either side for crowns to support a bridge. Poorly fitted dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well due to the dentures moving about. Teeth attached to an implant do not cause this problem.