Periodontitis (gum disease) is a common cause of tooth loss, with the first symptoms being easy to miss or ignore. Bacteria contained in plaque that is not adequately cleaned from around the gums will cause gingivitis, or bleeding gums. If this is not treated, bacterial infection will eventually destroy the gum tissues, the ligaments holding the teeth into their sockets, as well as the bone surrounding the teeth. The most common cause of periodontal disease is due to a neglect of oral hygiene, but some medical conditions may also contribute. Periodontitis due to poor oral hygiene is increasingly being detected in younger adults.
Early detection and treatment to stabilise the disease, as well as implementing a thorough oral hygiene regime at home, will reduce the risk of tooth loss and permanent damage to the gums and jaw bone. Periodontal disease may also have serious, long-term detrimental effects on your overall health, as links with heart disease have been proven.
Your gums will be assessed at every dental review for signs that may indicate infection. Periodontal therapy, if required, aims to eliminate bacteria hiding in pockets underneath the gums, through deep cleaning and scaling of the tooth surface underneath the gum. This is a very specialised clean, which is often performed over two to four visits under local anaesthesia. At the end of the prescribed course of treatment, it will be necessary to return for regular reviews for monitoring until stabilisation of the disease has been achieved. It is common to require more than one course of treatment.