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What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition. The inflammation is part of the bodies natural defence mechanisms and effects your gums. It occurs in response to a build-up of plaque on the teeth. In some patients, this natural inflammatory process is too severe or poorly controlled and the inflammation actually damages the supporting structures of the teeth, namely gum and supporting bone. Whilst we can control this process and stop the bone loss getting any worse, the bone loss is usually irreversible.

Who can get periodontal disease?

Approximately 10% of the population is severely affected by periodontal disease and by the age of 60, around 80% of people will display some bone loss, albeit mild. There appears to be some genetic link with periodontal disease, with trends running in families. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, your siblings and children are at an increased risk of having the same problem. Ideally, they should all be screened and monitored for potential problems by their general dentist.

What makes periodontal disease worse?

The single biggest risk factor for developing gum disease, after poor oral hygiene, is smoking. Smokers lose three times more teeth than non-smokers, and they do not respond as well to treatment as non-smokers. Conditions such as poorly controlled diabetes, poor diet or stress can also play a part. Stopping smoking is a very important part of controlling this disease and preventing tooth loss. Should you wish to quit smoking, the best people to speak to are your GP and medical practice nurses. We are also happy to offer advice.

Can it be treated?

Periodontal disease can be treated successfully. However, we cannot cure it. By stabilising the disease, we can prevent further damage and allow you to keep your teeth for a long time.

What can I do to help?

Your role in the management and stabilisation of the disease is crucial. We will show you techniques aimed at cleaning your teeth to a very high standard so that the bacteria levels are below the level that triggers inflammation. This is different from one patient to the next, but without this change in home care, our treatment cannot be successful. Controlling the risk factors outlined above is also an important part of helping yourself control your disease.

What if I don’t have treatment?

If the bone loss around the teeth is not controlled, then your teeth may become loose, gums shrink and in some cases teeth may become infected or even fall out.

What does treatment involve?

Once you are successfully controlling the plaque build up, we will help by removing the deposits that you cannot reach or are attached firmly to the teeth. This can take time and you may require several treatment sessions over a period of many months depending on how severe the disease is. This treatment may be done by your dentist, dental therapist or dental hygienist. It is impossible to know how long it will take to stabilise the condition but the harder you work at home, the quicker things tend to happen.

If it is about bacteria, why can you not just give me antibiotics?

This is not an infection, it is the bodies reaction to the removable plaque. When the plaque is physically removed by you and us, the inflammation will resolve and the disease stabilises without the need for antibiotics. Gum disease is almost never treated with antibiotics.

Are there any side effects to treatment?

Due to the fact that there has been irreversible bone loss, when the inflammation resolves it is likely that you will experience some gum shrinkage and possibly some sensitivity. They are unavoidable side effects of treatment and you must remember that failing to control the disease may result in tooth loss.

How can Regent Dental Centre help?

At Regent Dental Centre, we have a team of highly experienced dentists and dental hygienists that are here to help you. We believe that prevention is far better than a cure, and we can advise you on the best way of keeping your oral hygiene in top condition.

To book an appointment with us, call our practice on 0161 941 2143 or click here to be taken to our online enquiry form.

Website last updated: July 2022

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