Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth and manifests in two main forms, gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Some version of gum disease is likely to affect most people at some stage in their lives and very often will not be noticed in its early stages which emphasises the importance of good oral and dental hygiene and regular check-ups with the dentist.
If left untreated mild gum disease can develop into periodontal disease and this can affect not only the gums but the underlying bone, which can be eroded and cause the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
This may then mean considerable cosmetic dental work or the need for dentures or implants, but it can happen that some forms of cosmetic dentistry can only be carried out if there is enough underlying bone to which to fix them.
The cause of gum disease is the plaque that can be deposited on teeth and contains bacteria that can impair the health of teeth and gums and therefore needs to be removed every day with brushing and flossing.
Patients who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and for gum disease to progress more rapidly than in non-smokers. Gum disease still remains the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.
On its own in some cases brushing and flossing may not be enough and should be supplemented with regular visits to the dentist for more professional scale and polish treatment. A half hour appointment during the working day is possible if there is a dentist in the business district where the patient works, like the Brisbane CBD.
It may also be that to be sure of removing the bacteria the dentist will carry out root planning work that generally involves a local anaesthetic before the work is done. Although periodontal disease cannot be cured it can be control and this will help prevent further erosion of the bone and the risk of losing teeth altogether.
A lost tooth can compound problems because the result is greater strain on the surrounding teeth. It can affect the bite and also increase the risk of further decay because of the food that can get packed into the gap.
While advances in cosmetic dentistry mean that a lot can be done to restore or replace damaged teeth, the treatments can be costly and take some time so it is always better to take care of the natural teeth with good dental hygiene and regular check-ups with the dentist.
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