Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a chronic inflammatory condition in which plaque bacteria accumulate below the gum line. Over time, the inflammatory response to the bacteria can cause the erosion of gum tissue and supporting bone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is often silent and symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. Signs and symptoms of periodontal diseases are:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding gums while brushing, flossing, or eating
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Pus between gums and teeth
- Sores in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Shifting teeth
- Gaps between teeth
How can periodontal (gum) health be established?
Phase 1: Periodontal assessment and treatment planning
The periodontal or gum condition will be examined thoroughly using instruments and x-rays to produce an individualised treatment plan. An instrument called periodontal probe will be used to gently measure the depth of the sulcus (the area between your gums and teeth). A periodontal probe is used to determine whether pockets have been developed and the depth of those pockets. The more severe the periodontal or gum disease, the deeper the pocket. Dental x-rays may also be taken to evaluate the amount of bone support around the teeth and to detect any other problems. The clinical and radiographic findings will be explained and then treatment options will be discussed.
Phase 2: Non-surgical periodontal treatment
Deep cleaning, also known as non-surgical periodontal therapy, is a non-invasive measure of preventing the progression of periodontal disease. A deep cleaning goes beneath the gum line to remove plaque, bacteria and other toxins from areas that brushing and flossing cannot reach, reducing the risk of disease advancement. Oral antibiotics, as well as anti-microbial mouth rinses, can be used short-term, if needed, to control bacteria and treatment periodontal infection.
Phase 3: Periodontal re-assessment
At this stage, the response to the treatment will be assessed. Clinical examination is performed as it was performed during the initial consultation in order to determine if further treatment is necessary.
Phase 4: Surgical periodontal treatment
If inflammation and deep pockets are present after non-surgical periodontal treatment (deep cleaning), resective periodontal flap surgery or bone grafting may be recommended to minimize the depth of the pockets and therefore reduce the risk of further disease progression and tooth loss.
Phase 5: Periodontal maintenance
If non-surgical periodontal treatment (deep cleaning) has led to reduction of all deep pockets, a maintenance phase and thorough check-ups on your teeth and gums will occur every few months or so to ensure the stability of your periodontal (gum) health.