Our treatments - Hygiene & Periodontal

Periodontal Conditions

The most common periodontal conditions are gingivitis and periodontitis, both of which are caused by dental plaque. Plaque consists almost entirely of bacteria which normally inhabit the mouth. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum and is common but readily reversible with good oral hygiene. Periodontitis affects approximately 10-15% of the population and is inflammation which extends to destroy the deeper supporting tissues of the tooth eventually leading to tooth loss. The signs and symptoms of both conditions vary but include bleeding gums, mobility and drifting of the teeth - it is however possible to be suffering from gum disease without exhibiting these signs.

Susceptibility to destructive periodontal disease is not fully understood but four major factors are known to contribute to these conditions. These are family history, certain types of bacteria in plaque, stress and smoking. Stopping smoking is an important component in reducing the risk of developing periodontal disease and improving an individual's response to treatment.

There is strong correlation evidence linking gum disease to higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your dental health examination (DHE) includes a comprehensive assessment of your gum condition. If gum and periodontal problems are identified an appropriate treatment plan will be advised. This will depend on the level of disease and will involve our hygienist and possibly referral to a specialist periodontal practitioner. The vast majority of cases are treated by the dentists and hygienists at HDS.

The first stage of treatment aims to stabilise the disease by removing the major causes, particularly dental plaque from poorly accessible areas beneath the gums. Patients are given advice with regard to the daily regime required to remove plaque from the tooth- gum junction. Your hygienist is invaluable in this role and for susceptible patients may be the most important health care professional. In more advanced cases periodontal surgery may be required to deal with deep-seated areas of inflammation and to recontour the detached gum. Surgical techniques to regain lost support may be utilised where indicated. Periodontal surgery may also be used to treat areas of gum recession re-covering exposed root surfaces to improve aesthetics and/ or reduce sensitivity in some individuals. Referral to a specialist periodontal practitioner is often advised in more severe cases.

Maintaining the improvements after treatment is essential and patients are strongly advised to visit their dentist and hygienist at regularly intervals. The most important factor in maintaining gum health is the daily removal of plaque from the tooth-gum junction. Some patients will need regular follow-up by their specialist periodontist.

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