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Home Dental Services Periodontics

Periodontics (Gum Disease)

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease is a disease affecting the supporting structures and tissues around a tooth. These tissues are keeping the teeth in place. Gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque. Bacterial or dental plaque is the accumulation and deposit of oral bacteria on hard oral tissues, especially teeth. More than 108 bacteria are present in 1 mg of dental plaque. Dental plaque microbes produce a variety of toxins, antigens and acids that challenge the immune system of every individual. Throughout lifetime there is usually a harmony between the host and the bacterial flora in the mouth. However there are cases where the composition of dental plaque changes or the immune defense mechanisms of the individual are no longer able to cope with the bacterial challenge. Some individuals are more susceptible than others. Smoking, stress and diabetes are factors that are thought to hamper the immune response. When this happens, oral tissues in contact with bacterial plaque become infected. The first tissues to become infected are the gums, leading to a condition commonly known as gingivitis. If left untreated, destruction of local tissues would lead to the establishment of a periodontal pocket between the gum and the tooth. Microbial flora within the pocket will now become more virulent, and chronic presence of this flora can lead to loss of tissue attachment around the tooth, affecting the bone as well as the gums. This condition is called periodontitis or gum disease.

Why have periodontal treatment?

Dental plaque is not easily removed from the surfaces of the teeth. If done correctly, every day brushing can remove the bacterial deposits above the gums. Sometimes these bacterial deposits can become calcified, leading to the formation of tartar above or below the gums. Tartar can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist using special instruments. The purpose of periodontal treatment is to remove bacterial deposits and tartar from pockets around affected teeth halting the process of the disease. In certain cases, surgery involving the gums needs to be done.

 

Example of periodontal treatment

teeth1    teeth2

Fig 1. Before treatment                                        Fig 2. After treatment

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