Gum (or periodontal) disease is usually pain free. You may not know you have it until it is discovered by your dentist or dental hygienist. Therefore, regular check-ups are essential to detect and treat periodontal disease.
However, five common signs to look out for include:
Bleeding gums; red, puffy gums; gum itching or discomfort
Spaces appearing between your teeth, or loose teeth
Receding gums, unless your dentist says this is normal for you
Persistent bad breath
Sensitivity to cold food and drink.
Periodontal disease covers a spectrum of various conditions of the gum. Periodontitis is a serious bacterial infection that destroys the attachment fibres and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Left untreated, this disease can lead to tooth loss. Other forms of periodontal disease include gum recession, gum overgrowth, ulcerating gums and other gum disorders.
Some people are very resistant to periodontal disease, some are genetically more predisposed to it and 10–15% of the population is highly susceptible.
Some medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes can exacerbate the disease. Smoking has been proven to make the problem worse and usually reduces the effect of treatment. Stress has been shown greatly to reduce resistance to the disease, and resistance can vary at different times in people’s lives. For example, a person’s resistance may be normal for years, then for no apparent reason it temporarily diminishes. Periodontal disease then appears, or the disease that was under control flares up.
Regardless of your susceptibility or resistance, you, your dentist and your hygienist can work together to slow the disease and keep it in check. For most people, loss of teeth as a result of periodontal disease is not inevitable with appropriate treatment.
Specialist periodontal care
Manoj Tank is the Specialist in periodontics at Elmsleigh House in Farnham. With years of extra training and experience, he offers specialist and advanced techniques, including gum grafts, to treat more difficult or advanced gum problems and is familiar with the latest methods of diagnosis and treatment. Because of his experience, Manoj Tank often sees other dentists' patients for specialist periodontal treatment.