Our gum health and oral health intertwine with each other so strongly that it is impossible to maintain one without the other. That said, a variety of gum diseases are still common in our everyday society. Recognising and treating these gum diseases at an early stage will prevent various consequences, from seemingly harmless mouth odour to much debilitating bone infection. So gear up for improving both, your gum and oral health. Learn more about these diseases and how to treat them.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a gum infection that begins with the destruction of the gum tissue and, if not intercepted at an early stage, progresses to destroy the jaw bone with eventual loosening and loss of teeth. This infection affects a major portion of our community, although the stage at which it presents might vary in different individuals.
Each form is caused due to the same factors, with gingivitis being the mildest form that might lead to periodontitis if the initial symptoms are ignored. The symptoms of gum disease are often subtle but not entirely without flashing a warning signal. Certain symptoms may point towards the disease process:
- Consistently swollen, red gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing
- Persistent bad breath
- Development of narrow gap between teeth and gums
- Loosening or shifting of teeth
- Receding gums
- Teeth sensitivity without any apparent decay
Different Types of Gum Diseases
The most common form of gum disease is listed below.
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the most commonly occurring gum disease, affecting over 40% of the global population. It can be called inflammation of the gums, resulting in red, swollen looking and easily bleeding gums. It is the initial stage of gingival infection and is easily reversible if early treatment is initiated.
Periodontitis: If gingivitis spreads unhindered, the disease is transformed into its more severe and advanced version called periodontitis. This periodontitis may not have painful symptoms until the damage reaches a debilitating stage, causing loss of teeth, gum tissue and underlying jaw bone. It can express in various forms.
Chronic Periodontitis: When infection of gums is neglected, the inflammation progresses and leads to the formation of deep pockets and recession of the gum line. It is the most usual form of periodontitis that occurs slowly and leads to bone loss.
Aggressive Periodontitis: In contrast to the slowly progressive form pointed above, this variety depicts rapid gum-attachment loss and bone destruction. Notably, the patients are otherwise clinically healthy but may have a similar family history.
Periodontitis is a form of Systemic Disease: This form starts to show at an early age and is commonly associated with long-lasting ailments such as any respiratory disorder/disease, heart conditions or diabetes.
Necrotising Periodontal Disease: A highly debilitating form, that shows as painful necrosis of the gums, its associated ligaments and the jawbone. Serious conditions such as HIV AIDS, malnourishment, or compromised immune system are commonly associated with it.
Treatment for gum disease
Gum disease should be evaluated and treated at the earliest to protect teeth and oral functions. This can be achieved by:
Full-Mouth Cleaning and Polishing:
This is the first and most important step in healing those gums. The aim is to control the infection and prevent any further build-up. Your hygienist or dentist will employ special instruments called Ultrasonic scalers to remove the tartar build-up and deposits from your teeth. This is followed by a polishing procedure, whereby a high-standard polishing material is used to make the tooth surfaces smooth and hinder redeposition by bacterial agents.
If the infection is severe, the dental professional may recommend surgical procedures to cover up those exposed teeth and prevent bone loss. It can include:
LASER-assisted gum therapy: A painless and highly specialised procedure that helps to eliminate infection and thus preserves the tooth structure.
LASER-assisted new attachment procedure: LNAP helps in recovering the gums from microbial damages.
» Gingival Flap surgeries are aimed at disinfecting the periodontal tissues and making them regain health.
Our negligent oral health routines and poor food choices are the leading causes of gum disease prevalency. Thereby, the best tool to tackle gum disease is appropriate and routine oral hygiene measures and regular oral health check-ups to keep gum disease at bay. If any symptoms point towards a gum problem, an early periodontal consultancy will save your oral health and the resultant bright, confident smile.