At the Coventry Torcross practice we offer a Hygienist service on a private basis.
Periodontal disease, dealt with regularly by our hygienist, is the inflammation of the tissues which support the teeth and attaches them to the jaw. Where inflammation only involves the soft gum tissue it is called gingivitis . Where inflammation reaches the bone it is termed periodontitis.
How are teeth attached to the jaw?
Each tooth has a crown which is embedded in the jaw bone. The root of the tooth is anchored to the bone by many tiny fibres. The jaw bone is covered by soft gum tissue, which acts like a cuff to the neck of the tooth.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
Healthy gums are pink and firm. The edges cannot normally be separated from the teeth, and gums should not bleed when brushed.
Unfortunately, periodontal disease can sometimes go unnoticed until it is quite far advanced. However, most people will be aware of some of the following signs:
Red, swollen gums
Teeth drifting apart
The classic sign of gingivitis – red swollen gums which bleed on brushing – is often the first indication of periodontal disease, and the easiest to spot. Gum shrinkage and loosened teeth occur at the later stage of periodontitis, which may arise if measures have not been taken to control plaque, the underlying cause of periodontal disease.
How does Periodontal disease start?
If plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, poisons produced by the bacteria make the gums inflamed. This early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis.
Inflamed gums, as we have already mentioned, are red, swollen and bleed on brushing . Plaque is often visible on the surfaces of teeth, beside each area of inflammation.
How does the inflammation spread?
After a while, with poor levels or oral hygiene, the plaque on the crown of the tooth may spread down below gum level; this usually occurs slowly and the inflammation produced results in bone destruction and the formation of ‘pockets’ (spaces between the tooth and the gum).
Periodontitis is the name given to the stage of the disease when inflammation reaches the bone.
As more bone is destroyed, the tooth begins to loosen, and, as the pockets get deeper, abscesses will often occur. Sometimes the gum will shrink as the bone underneath is destroyed so that part of the root will become visible in the mouth. However, the disease may reach an advanced stage without causing any pain.
Is failure to remove plaque the only cause of periodontal disease?
Some people are lucky enough to have a very strong, in-built resistance. These people do not experience severe periodontal disease even when their tooth cleaning is poor. Other people, although otherwise perfectly healthy, have a very low resistance to periodontal disease and have to achieve virtually perfect dental hygiene to prevent it.
Is there a cure for periodontal disease?
Yes for most people , but treatment will depend entirely on how far the inflammation has reached. Teeth which are affected only by gingivitis can be treated relatively easily with very good results. Our hygienist at the Coventry Torcross practice will ensure that your teeth are free from calculus and that you know how to clean them properly. After that, thorough cleaning every day will make the gums pink, firm and healthy again. Some people because they have a very aggressive level of the disease may need more advanced intervention and following intervention by our hygienist will be recommended for referral for further specialist treatment.
What about treatment of periodontitis?
After visits with our hygienist at the Coventry Torcross practice to remove calculus, and improved oral hygiene on your part, the crowns and roots of the teeth will become clean. Our Hygienist will do this under the direction of your Dentist and to a plan they agree together. The inflammation will subsequently disappear and the gums will tighten up around the root surfaces. Any redness or swelling in the gums should disappear and loose teeth may become firmer.