Gum Disease/Periodontics care in Norwich, Norfolk
Periodontal (gum) disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are infections that if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a collection of germs (bacteria), which grow around teeth. This collection of germs releases toxins that lead to inflammation of the gums. Plaque then burrows underneath the gums and creates a space between the teeth and gums. This space is called a pocket.
Once the plaque is inside the pocket it causes further inflammation. This inflammation leads to gradual bone loss around the teeth. The bone loss is irreversible and can lead to eventual tooth loss. This process is known as periodontitis.
What factors contribute to periodontal disease?
Although plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease other factors affect the health of your gums including:
Smoking plays a very important part in the progression of periodontitis. Also, healing following treatment may take more time.
Family history/genetic susceptibility:
Certain periodontal diseases can be aggressive and there is sometimes a family history.
Periodontal disease is often more severe in uncontrolled diabetics.
Stress influences the rate at which periodontitis progresses.
Pregnancy, puberty and some medications
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease usually progresses with few obvious signs and symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of periodontal diseases:
- Bleeding gums during brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Loose and mobile teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Bad taste
- A change in the way teeth fit together when you bite
Why is a referral necessary?
Your general dentist may give you advice and simple periodontal treatment. If your periodontal disease is advanced or complicated your dentist can refer you to a periodontist.
A periodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants.
During the periodontal examination your periodontist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and take radiographs (x-rays) and photographs of your teeth to check the status of your gums and teeth. A report will be forwarded to your dentist and you will receive a copy of the report.