Gum disease occurs when there is swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. The swollen gums usually bleed when they are brushed during cleaning. So bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease.
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. Our dentist will carry out a comprehensive gum check to assess if you haveany gum disease and will advise you on the appropriate treatment.
Can I get gum disease and is it contagious?
Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria, which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.
The first thing to do is visit your dentist for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The dentist can measure the depth of the gap between the gum and the tooth around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.
Your dentist will usually give your teeth a thorough clean. You’ll also be shown how to control and remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and efficiently. This may take a number of sessions with the dentist or hygienist.
Once your teeth are clean, your dentist may decide to carry out further cleaning of the roots of the teeth, to make sure that the last pockets of bacteria are removed. You’ll probably need the treatment area to be numbered before anything is done. Afterwards, you may feel some discomfort for up to 48 hours.