Your oral health is of utmost importance to our team. That’s why we strive to offer high-quality dental hygiene services.
Regular dental hygiene visits are the best way to maintain optimal oral health and prevent dental problems. Our registered dental hygienists are highly trained and have years of experience in the smile maintenance department.
Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems adults face, but gum disease can begin at just about any age. Gum disease often develops slowly without pain. Sometimes you may not notice any signs until the condition is serious and you are in danger of losing teeth.
The good news is:
- gum disease can almost always be prevented,
- if it starts, it can be treated and
- it can even be turned around (or reversed) in its early stages.
How does gum disease develop?
Healthy gums and bones hold teeth firmly in place. Gums attach to teeth just below the edge of the gums. Gum disease affects the attachment between gums and teeth.
Gum disease begins with plaque. Plaque is clear and sticky and contains germs (or bacteria). It forms on your teeth every day. It also forms where your teeth and your gums meet. If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. Tartar can lead to an infection at the point where the gums attach to the teeth (called the point of attachment).
In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. Your gums may be a bit red and bleed when you brush, but you may not notice anything. As gingivitis gets worse, tiny pockets of infection form at the point of attachment. You cannot see them, but you may notice puffy gums, traces of blood on your toothbrush, or a change in the colour of your gums. Your gums will probably not be sore.
Over time, the infection breaks down the gum tissue that attaches to the teeth. This is called attachment loss. At this point, you will notice swelling, bleeding or colour changes in your gums. Along with attachment loss, gum disease causes the bone that holds your teeth in place to break down too. If gum disease is not treated, your teeth may become loose and in danger of falling out. The best way to deal with gum disease is not to get it in the first place. To protect your oral health, brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day and see us regularly for oral examinations.
How is gum disease treated?
In its early stages, gum disease is tough to see. You may not know that you have a problem. But every time you come in for a dental exam, we look for signs of gum disease. Often, we use a dental tool called a periodontal probe to measure where your gums attach to your teeth. Healthy gums attach to teeth just below the edge of the gum. If your gums attach to your teeth below this point, it is a sign of gum disease.
X-rays show how much bone is around your teeth. If you have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That’s why the best treatment for the early stages of gum disease is cleaning. When you visit, we will remove built-up tartar and instruct you to brush twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque. When gum disease is more serious, we may refer you to a dental specialist called a periodontist. A periodontist has at least 3 years of extra university training in treating gum disease and restoring (or regenerating) bone and gum tissue lost because of gum disease. A periodontist also treats severe forms of gum disease that do not get better with routine dental care. Brushing and flossing become even more critical when severe gum disease is found.
How do I check my gums?
Check your gums regularly for these signs of gum disease, including:
- a change in the colour of your gums
- gums that are red around your teeth
- gums that bleed every time you brush or floss
- bad breath that will not go away
- a taste of metal in your mouth
- shiny, puffy, or sore gums
- teeth that are sensitive for no reason
If you discover any of these signs, see us right away. Gum disease is one of the main reasons adults lose their teeth. The good news is gum disease can almost always be prevented. And, if it starts, it can be treated and even be turned around (or reversed) in its early stages.
If left untreated, gum disease can cause sore, red, and puffy gums and lead you to develop painful infections (called an abscess) in the area between your teeth and gums. You may even lose your teeth. Without enough gum tissue and bone to hold your teeth in place, they can become loose and fall out. Nobody wants to have these things happen and with regular care, they won’t.