Gums and Health

What is Gum disease

Gum disease is what dentists call gingivitis and is the mildest form of gum and periodontal disease. It is often characterized  by red swollen inflamed gums that bleed easily. Untreated it will slowly progress to the next stage called periodontal  disease. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.

What is Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the loss of bone and the supporting tissues that connect the roots of the tooth to the bone. The attachment between the roots of the tooth and bone is by a ligament called periodontal ligament. This is like a shock absorbing system that supports the tooth. Teeth start to drift and gaps start to open between teeth or they tend to move out of alignment because of the loss of bone around the roots of teeth.

What are the signs and symptoms

Gum disease is characterised by the gum that appear red, swollen, and bleed easily to stimuli. Periodontal disease is usually characterised by pus discharge from the periodontal pocket, which can cause bad odour or taste in the mouth and teeth that show some mobility.

What causes the gum and Periodontal disease

There are many factors or combination of factors that lead to gum disease or periodontal disease. With proper control of the contributing factors both gum and periodontal disease can be overcome or managed. The common factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, ageing, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication.

What can be done about gum and periodontal disease

Gum Disease is easy to manage and simple procedures such as clean and oral prophylaxis will be sufficient in most cases. Your dentist will be able to advise you of necessary steps in this regard. Sometimes multiple visits may be required to manage the situation but in most instance simple gingivitis is reversible.

Periodontal disease is a little more involved and requires more careful planning and diagnostics to get the best results. Periodontal therapies are best categorised under Non-surgical and Surgical Intervention. The advent of lasers these days help in management of periodontal conditions in a non-surgical manner minimising post-operative discomfort. Your dentist is best poised to discuss your situation and, may necessitate a referral to specialist as well.

  Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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