Gum disease is very common. Indeed, it’s currently recognised as the sixth most common human ailment. Gum disease commonly has two main phases: gingivitis, characterised by mild inflammation and irritation of the gums, and periodontitis — the leading cause of tooth loss.
Benefits of periodontal treatment at
The Bristol Dental Practice
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a severe form of gum infection that begins with gingivitis, most commonly caused by plaque that has penetrated beneath the gumline and hardened into tartar. Once formed, tartar cannot be removed with normal brushing and needs professional dental cleaning.
What happens in periodontitis?
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress. The gums begin to recede away from the teeth causing pockets to form. These pockets fill with plaque, tartar and bacteria which gradually eat away at the bone surrounding teeth, causing severe infection and loss of gum tissues. As the pockets deepen, the teeth loosen and without specialist intervention, tooth loss is inevitable.
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Who is especially at risk of
Some groups of people have an increased risk of developing periodontitis. These include:
- People who neglect their oral health
- People who already have gingivitis
- People who smoke or chew tobacco
- Older people
- People with a genetic predisposition to developing periodontitis
- People with certain illnesses, especially conditions that cause immunodeficiency
There are other risks associated with inflamed, irritated gums. Studies have found links between gum disease and an increased risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease and strokes. This is thought to be due to the spread of bacteria from the oral cavity through the broken tissue of the gums and into the bloodstream.
How is periodontitis
Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis can’t be reversed, although we can provide treatment to counteract the spread of the infection and prevent the condition worsening. Periodontitis is treated by our specialist periodontist Dr Joel Thomas. During a deep cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing, Dr Thomas will remove hard build ups of plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets around your teeth. You may also be prescribed antibiotics.
What else does a specialist
As well as treating periodontal disease, specialist periodontists are also able to provide a range of advanced treatments to reshape and sculpt the gums such as:
- Crown lengthening: a procedure to sculpt gum tissue (and, in some cases, bone) to make additional room for a tooth to receive a crown
- Gum recession treatment: treated with scaling and root planing and, in some cases, antibiotics. Receding gums don’t grow back and you may want to consider having a soft tissue graft to improve the aesthetics of your gumline
- Peri-implantitis treatment: peri-implantitis is a complex condition that affects the soft tissues and bone surrounding a dental implant, over time destroying them. Treatment can be approached in two main ways: mechanical/surgical and antiseptic/antibiotic. Typically, a mix of the two approaches would be used to get the inflammation under control and salvage the implant, if possible
- Bone regeneration: uses bone grafts to stimulate the growth of new bone
- Soft tissue/connective tissue grafting: uses tissue from the roof of your mouth to graft onto your gums, producing a fuller effect
- Biopsies: the removal of tissue samples for closer inspection and lab testing
- Gum reshaping/electrosurgery: removing excess tissue from ‘gummy’ smiles, improving their aesthetic appeal. Electrosurgery efficiently removes soft tissues (gums) while simultaneously assisting coagulation, thereby minimising bleeding
Referrals for periodontal treatments
We’re always happy to receive referrals for any of our dental services, we treat routine to very complex cases and we also help extremely nervous patients who require sedation in order to access dental treatment.