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SmileScription™

chapter

three

Healthy gums the foundation of a per fect smile Healthy teeth and gums are essential - not only for eating but it aids speech, overall maintaining good health. They also form the internal scaffolding to the face, keeping in place soft tissue and lips and helping you sustain a youthful appearance.

O ra l h e a l t h a n d we l l b e i n g There’s a direct correlation between oral health and overall health. Scientists world wide agree that periodontitis (gum disease such as bleeding gums, excess tartar, unstable teeth, bad taste and bad breath) can be a significant cause of diabetes, heart disease, low birth weight and pneumonia.

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SmileScription™

Gum Disease – periodontitis / gingivitis

Gingivitis Gingivitis is swelling of the gums. The gums become red and swollen, indicating the area has become

‘Regular professional cleaning and proper oral care at home can help prevent gum disease’

inflamed through plaque colonisation (‘excess plaque’ in layman’s terms?) The condition is reversible but if left untreated can lead to periodontal disease.

Gum disease is inflammation or infection

Plaque contains millions of bacteria which,

of the tissue supporting the teeth.

if not removed, will stagnate, causing

Without thorough tooth brushing, regular

inflammation and infection. Other factors

flossing and frequent dental checkups

causing gum disease are poor general

an accumulation of plaque will build up.

health, smoking and stress as well as

‘Myth: If you brush your teeth too hard your gums will bleed.’ Healthy, vital gums should not bleed when brushed. If they do bleed, it’s most likely due to inflammation, plaque build-up or, in some cases, systemic disease.

hereditary and systemic conditions.

Pe r i o d o n t a l d i s e a s e

There are t w o simple stages to gum disease:

Persistent inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) can lead to periodontal disease, which can present in a variety of forms, all of which affect gums and bone. In periodontitis the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost leading to gaps, loose teeth and shrinking gums, and, if left untreated, the teeth may fall out.

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SmileScription™ Indications of gum disease 4 Bleeding 4 Redness and swelling 4 Bone loss

removal of plaque and tartar, allowing the inflammation to subside and the gums to heal.

4 Sensitivity 4 Bad breath 4 Tooth movement 4 Tooth loss Periodontitis and the destruction of

set up a basic periodontal examination

health and general medical health.

monitor progress of your gum disease.

simple at home regime If you have gum disease or have had it in the past I recommend you visit

1. Use a medium / soft small replace every three months.

Periodontal disease/bone loss is not

gums’ condition. Maintaining a healthy

reversible, but it can be contained

mouth is like building a house - your

through good oral hygiene, regular

teeth need strong foundations – good

maintenance and visits to the dentist.

gums. Without a set of healthy gums

Antibiotics

but the bone will not grow back.

– you cannot maintain a healthy smile. Anaesthesia: local anaesthetic may be prescribed for certain conditions. Number of visits: one

2. When brushing the teeth, you should spend 2-3 minutes, ideally after each meal and before bedtime to remove all cavity-forming bacteria and prevent gum disease. 3. Be careful not to brush hard, as this can cause gums to recede and tooth substance to be lost.

lead to significant improvement. Not all hygienists are the same. As well as

unavoidable consequence of ageing.’ However, where periodontal disease

treating patients, the job of a good dental

With regular visits to the hygienist and

persists you should be offered a referral to

hygienist is to educate and advise patients

good dental care a smile can last for life.

a periodontist - a specialist in gum disease

on their home care regime. A good dental

who can provide options such as gum

hygienist should also record gum condition,

surgery, bone replacement and adjunctive

measuring bone loss using the BPE index.

Early stages of gum disease often

treatment which may include???

cause little or no discomfort, which

x-rays and bone measurement.

Initial treatment normally involves

Proper oral care starts with

enables the hygienist to monitor your

antibiotics may be prescribed, usually

undetected for some time.

P r o t e c t yo u r s m i l e

headed toothbrush and

the bone can be halted and maintained

means the condition may remain

want to keep your teeth for life.

the hygienist every three months. This

Where gum disease persists,

Tr e a t i n g g u m d i s e a s e

polish – you can’t rush things if you

Ca n g u m d i s e a s e r e t u r n ?

for a three-month period, which can

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on a regular basis. The timing of these appointments is dependent on your oral

bone is not reversible. The damage to

‘Myth: Growing ‘long in the tooth’ is an

All patients should see a dentist or hygienist

At this point your dentist or hygienist should (BPE) and pocket charting record to

4 Gum recession

What do I need to know?

4. Instead brush gently in small circular motions at 45o angle. 5. Flossing is so important – do it after every meal sliding up and down the side of the tooth.

You must accept, though, that thorough removal of plaque above, below and

‘Helping patients achieve beautiful

in between teeth (interdental brushes

teeth and healthy gums produces

are excellent for this) takes time.

people who love their smile’

Never accept a 10-minute scale and

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Healthy Gums