Gum disease treatment, Geelong

Periodontal (Gum) Disease and Oral Hygiene

What is gum disease?

Periodontal Disease, or gum disease, is a term that can include gum inflammation and irritation, right through to serious infection involving the tissues and bone surrounding and supporting a tooth or teeth. The latter situation can lead to mobility and eventually to the actual loss of the affected tooth or teeth. In many cases, people are unaware they have issues with their gums until it is too late and they require tooth extractions at our Geelong dental clinic.

What causes gum disease?

The major cause of gum disease is the accumulation of plaque and calculus (tartar) on and around the gum margins of the teeth. Plaque is a thick, furry film of bacteria that builds up on teeth surfaces, above and below the gums. At this stage most of the newly formed plaque can be removed by careful toothbrushing and flossing. However, if plaque is allowed to harden it forms calculus. Calculus cannot be removed successfully by toothbrushing and flossing and requires the regular intervention of the dentist. This is the professional scale and clean offered at Wyatt Ryan Dental Clinic as part of our Geelong dentists’ oral care program.

Types and symptoms of gum disease

The continued presence of plaque and calculus can lead to various levels, or types, of gum disease.

1. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and can lead to:

  • redness
  • swollen or puffy gums
  • gums that can readily bleed, particularly on brushing and flossing
  • occasional tenderness

Gingivitis can range from mild to moderate to severe presentations. Pregnancy and some medications can also lead to gingivitis.

2. Periodontal Disease is a more advanced presentation of gum disease. Signs vary but can include:

  • persistent bad breath
  • receding gums
  • pocket formation
  • loss of bone around the affected tooth/ teeth
  • tooth mobility.

It is important to note that there are often little or no symptoms until more advanced stages of the disease present. More serious forms of gum disease can have serious complications on other health matters, in particular, heart disease.

Who is at risk?

Anybody can get gingivitis or Periodontal Disease, ranging from mild presentations to more advanced stages of the disease. The risk factors for Periodontal Disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Diabetes and epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Minimal dental hygiene practices at home
  • Irregular professional dental exams and cleans.

What can I do to prevent gum disease?

Daily at-home oral hygiene practices, and regular professional cleaning from the dentist are essential for maintaining healthy gums. At Wyatt Ryan Dental every patient is assessed for signs of gum disease. In every regular dental exam, the following information is recorded: pocket measurements around the gums, gum recession, bleeding, tooth mobility and an estimate of the amount of plaque and calculus present. Treatment will depend on your diagnosis, but in most cases is likely to include a routine scale and clean. Root planing using manual and ultrasonic instruments may also be implemented, depending on your individual needs.
In cases of severe periodontal disease you may be referred to a specialist Periodontist for further care.

Prevention

Prevention of gum disease is paramount at Wyatt Ryan Dental in Geelong. We ensure there is always time for our knowledgeable staff to advise and instruct you on toothbrushing and flossing techniques so that you can feel confident about your at-home oral hygiene care.

Early intervention is always best and we recommend regular dental examinations with your Geelong dentist, Wyatt Ryan Dental. Contact our friendly team if you have any concerns or to make an appointment.