Regarded in the dental industry as the ‘silent disease’ gum disease is a concerning oral condition affecting more than 45 per cent of the adult population in the UK, according to the British Society of Periodontology (BSP). The worry surrounding gum disease is it can adversely affect a patient’s quality of life in many areas. In addition to this is the dental condition’s link to serious medical conditions such as diabetes. Early detection and treatment carried out by a dentist in W1 can prevent many of the complications that are a consequence of advanced gum disease.

Patients who are at increased risk of developing gum disease include smokers, diabetics, patients who are overweight and those on certain medications. An awareness campaign initiated by The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and supported by the BSP offers the following advice in the treatment of gum disease; this includes regular consultation with a dental practitioner to treat and monitor the condition, taking steps to control blood sugar levels and using fluoride toothpaste when cleaning teeth.

Gum disease symptoms overlooked by patients

The symptoms of gum disease in its early stages are often overlooked by patients. These symptoms include bleeding gums, bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth. Patients often make the mistake of ignoring these symptoms. For example, patients may view bleeding gums as a normal occurrence and nothing to worry about. The reality is that bleeding gums, also known as gingivitis, is far from normal and indicates the presence of bacterial plaque build-up on the tooth surface.

What to expect during treatment for gum disease

  • Request a gum screening test

For any patient concerned about the condition of their gums, an initial gum screening test performed by a dental professional is essential. Based on the findings, a dental practitioner may request further assessments to determine the extent of bone loss and the formation of gum pockets.

To kick start a treatment plan, patients would need to implement a rigid in-home oral hygiene regime. Before this, a dental practitioner will need to perform a thorough professional clean concentrating on removing as much plaque and calculus build-up. At this appointment it is also usual for the dental practitioner to illustrate proper cleaning techniques and recommend useful dental tools that best control plaque build-up. This is essential to treat gum disease effectively. A patient may also be advised to schedule more frequent dental check-up appointments.

  • Active treatment implementation

During the active treatment phase, patients can expect a deeper level of clean to reach plaque formation on the root surfaces of the teeth. This is required to reduce inflammation and begin the gum healing process.

  • Reassessment to determine further corrective treatment

Gums are given a period of time to heal and then another assessment is needed to determine if further treatment is required. Gum pockets that are greater than 6mm often require additional treatments.

  • Maintaining healthy gums

Once a patient’s gum has healed, a dental practitioner will want to monitor the condition going forward. For many patients who have suffered from gum disease, there is always the risk of the condition returning if healthy gums are not maintained. To ensure that gum health is not compromised, a patient may be recommended to see a dental practitioner every three months.

For more information on how to treat gum disease or to check on the condition of their gums, patients should schedule a check-up with a dental practitioner.