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
Gum disease can result in receding gums which if left untreated, can result in weakened or even lost teeth. Gum disease can be prevented by looking after your teeth with a good and regular oral hygiene regime. This includes brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dentist and dental hygienist.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. This involves the inflammation and infection of the tissue that support the teeth, including the gums and tooth socket (alveolar bone). Often the swollen gums bleed then they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long standing gingivitis that has not been treated can turn into periodontal disease. The inflammation around the teeth caused the gums to pull away from the teeth and forms spaces that become infected. If this is not treated, the bones, gums and tissues supporting the teeth become destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum diseases are causes by plaque. Plaque is a type of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
As gum disease progresses, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to abscesses with pus forming under the gums and teeth. The infection can spread to all areas of your gums and the alveolar bone surrounding your teeth. The bone supporting the teeth can be lost and treatment can become more difficult.
Symptoms of gum disease:
- Bleeding gyms (blood on the toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth).
- Gums are tender when touched and may also bleed when you are eating.
- Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums.
- Swollen gums
- Your breath may also become unpleasant.
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth