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Periodontics in Enniskillen

What is Periodontal disease and how is it treated?

Are you worried about gum disease? If you have noticed your gums bleeding, signs of bad breath, or feel some movement in your teeth, it's probably time to see your dentist.

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a condition that affects the gums and bone which surround the teeth. When our gums are healthy, they will be pale pink in colour and feel firm to the touch. When gums become red and swollen, this is most likely being caused by the presence of gum disease. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria and if it is left untreated, can lead to loosening of the teeth and eventually tooth loss.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease resulting most often from poor oral hygiene. This form of gum disease will cause the gums to become inflamed, red, swollen and bleed very easily. Bleeding is often the first sign of gingivitis and is usually most noticeable when brushing or flossing the teeth. Gingivitis can present very few/mild symptoms, making it hard to detect if you don't regularly attend your dentist or oral hygienist.

Thankfully, if caught early enough, gingivitis can be reversed with the help of professional dental treatment, followed by a good home oral care routine. This is because at this stage the bacteria has not yet managed to affect the bones surrounding the teeth.

To treat gingivitis your dental hygienist will clean the teeth professionally and then advise you on the correct methods to improve your at-home cleaning routine. Basic periodontal treatments will involve cleaning out the deposits of plaque from above and below the gums, followed by home oral care.

What is Periodontitis?

When gum disease is left untreated, what was once a mild case of gingivitis will move to a more advanced stage and become Periodontitis. This occurs when plaque deposits have been allowed to spread and grow between the gum lines. The accumulated bacteria will irritate the gums and cause the tissues and bone, the support system of the teeth, to become destroyed. The gums will begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected. These pockets will continue to become deeper and more and more gum tissue and bone will be destroyed in the process, eventually leading to the teeth failing and either becoming so loose they fall out or need to be extracted.

Periodontal disease can range from mild, moderate and advanced. Unfortunately, once the periodontal disease has occurred at any stage, it cannot be reversed like gingivitis, it can however, be stopped in it's tracks and looked after. If you have periodontal disease, we can provide a variety of different specialist treatment options depending on the severity of your case.

What does this specialist treatment involve?

At Belmore Dental we offer both non-surgical and surgical options to treat periodontal disease depending on the severity of the case. Non-surgical treatments will involve a very in-depth cleaning of all of the surfaces under the teeth, above and below the gum using a fine powdered air flow machine, deep scaling and hand operated cleaning instruments on the tooth surfaces.

Surgical treatments will involve a more in-depth cleaning of the teeth below the gum line, using surgical techniques to access the area. There are two different types of gum surgery available as a treatment:

  • Surgery to clean the roots of the teeth (root planing)
  • Surgery to replace the bone and soft tissues which have been lost, whilst also cleaning the roots of the teeth

What are the benefits of periodontal treatment?

After a course of periodontal treatment, your gums will be healthier which will, in turn, help your teeth to become more stable, allowing you to keep them for as long as possible. Redness, swelling and bleeding should all settle down well and if you were experiencing any pain or discomfort this should ease also.

What warning signs should I be looking out for?

  • Gums which look or feel red, swollen or tender
  • Bleeding present when you brush or floss
  • Receding gums
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Areas of pus around the gums and teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth that aren't biting together as they once did

Are there any factors that will increase the risk of developing gum disease?

  • Smoking – Not only is this one of the most significant risk factors, continuing to smoke will also vastly lower the chances of treatment being successful
  • Hormonal changes – such as during teenage years or pregnancy can make the gums more sensitive and susceptible to gingivitis occurring.
  • Diabetes – Diabetics have a higher risk of developing infections and would therefore be more susceptible to gum disease so strict home oral care is important if you suffer from diabetes.
  • Stress – being under an excessive amount of stress can make it difficult for the body to fight off infection and increase the risk of developing gingivitis
  • Medications – certain medications can have a detrimental effect on oral health as they can lessen the flow of saliva
  • Genetics – some people will be genetically more prone to developing severe periodontal disease due to family history.

What can I do to prevent gum disease?

The best way to prevent gum disease of any kind is with a good home oral care routine including twice-daily brushing and thorough flossing at least once a day before brushing. Visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your mouth is kept under consistent review so changes can be picked up on quickly and treated accordingly. Visiting your dental hygienist is equally as important for the prevention of plaque build-up and in turn gum disease. Eating a healthy balanced diet is also a key factor in preventing gum disease, minimising the intake of sugary foods and drinks. Avoiding tobacco products in any form will also be a key factor in the prevention of gum disease. Smoking weakens and suppresses the immune system, making it much harder to fight off infection, once an infection has taken hold and damaged the gums, smoking will also make it harder for this to heal.

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