Patient Information:  Gum & Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of gums, and structures below the gum. Most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time. Around 10% of the population appear to suffer from more severe forms of the disease which cause the patients teeth to become loose.  This group appears to be at greatest risk of losing teeth through periodontal disease.  It is caused by the bacteria which collect on the teeth.

Why do some people suffer from this problem and not others?

Some of the population are susceptible to the disease. We are not sure about all aspects of the disease.  Our knowledge is improving all the time.   3 major factors are thought to be responsible.  

are all important risk factors.  

Stopping smoking is an important part of reducing the risk of developing the disease.  Certain general diseases such as diabetes and autoimmune type disorder (Rhurematoid Arthritis) hormonal changes ( Menopause) may also make an individual more susceptible.

How do I know if I have the disease?

The signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are variable but may include gums that bleed on brushing, bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, waking up with blood on your pillow, mobile that drifting apart and gums that recede.  Many people have the disease but are unaware of it. It is essential to attend a dentist for regular assessments and screening, sometimes using x-rays.  

What should I do if I think I might have the disease?

Regular dental examinations by a general dental practitioner will ensure that a correct diagnosis is made.  The dentist will be able to advise you on any necessary treatments.  Diagnosed early most cases of periodontal disease can be successfully treated by your dentist.  

 I’ve met many a patients who have avoided visiting a dentist and this has allowed severe gum disease to develop.  At the time they see a dentist the infection is so advanced, the best solution is to remove the teeth and  make dentures.  The patients are usually very pleased and relieved to have the teeth removed as the condition has become debilitating. Modern dentures are good, but dentures are not a direct replacement for teeth and I’d always recommend you keep your teeth for as long as possible as dentures are a prosthesis, like any prosthesis, for example a false leg, they have limitations.  The sooner you diagnose a problem the easier, quicker and less expensive the treatment.  If you think you may have gum disease then contact the surgery and we will help you overcome this problem.


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Diabetes and gum disease