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Hygiene Treatments

Screening for gum disease forms an integral part of your routine examination.

Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

What is periodontal 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.

What is the cause of gum disease?
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. 

What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease normally progresses painlessly and may not be noticed until teeth are loosening. Although the gums may appear healthy, the bone supporting the teeth maybe shrinking back. Over many years this may lead to the teeth being lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult. The good news is that whenever the condition is treated, normally with the help of a hygienist, its progress can be slowed or even halted.

How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.