Dr George Xirogiannis
D.D.S (Ath) MClinDent in Perio (Lond)
What is it?
Periodontal Disease affects the bone supporting the teeth. People with chronic cases of Periodontal Disease, eventually have to have teeth extracted, as much of the bone is lost and teeth become loose. You can prevent Periodontal Disease from getting worse by maintaining a good dental care routine and making regular visits to your Dentist or Hygienist.
There are two stages of gum disease:-
- The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is when the gums become red and swollen. Such inflammation can be cured with good oral hygiene.
- The second stage is called chronic periodontitis. People with chronic cases of Periodontal Disease, eventually have to have teeth extracted, as some of the bone is lost and teeth become loose. Although, periodontitis cannot be reversed once it has developed, you can prevent it from getting worse, if you clean your teeth properly and have regular treatment from your Dentist or Hygienist, who may recommend deep scaling or root planning.
What should I do if I suspect that I have gum disease?
You should visit your Dentist for an examination, so that they can check your teeth and gums and prescribe what treatment is required. Usually the Dentist will illustrate how to clean your teeth effectively in order to remove all of the plaque.
What does this treatment involve?
- This treatment is often performed under a local anaesthetic and may require you to make more than one visit, depending on whether your mouth is treated in sections.
- There are two different tools that are used for root planning. The hand scaler comes in various sizes and shapes to enable your Dentist to reach all parts of the tooth and to ensure that the tooth and its root are completely clean. The electric scaler is then used, which vibrates with water. The water circulates around the mouth to thoroughly clean out the mouth, which is then removed using suction.
- After this treatment you will need to be careful when cleaning the teeth above the gum-line, as the root planning should cause the gum pocket to shrink, resulting with the gum sitting closer to the tooth.
- This treatment is generally repeated on a regular basis.
What are the benefits?
- Root planing is beneficial, as it stops gum disease from getting worse and can prevent tooth loss.
- Although this treatment can help you to keep your mouth clean and healthy at home, you should not solely rely on this treatment for keeping your mouth healthy. However, it is important that you maintain a healthy mouth.
Can my dentist help?
If you are concerned about bad breath, you should discuss this with your Dentist. You should ensure that you do not try to hide the smell of your breath in any way, as it will make it difficult for the dentist to distinguish where the problem is coming from. Generally good oral hygiene will resolve bad breath, so your Dentist or Hygienist will probably give you a scale and polish to make it easier to keep your mouth clean at home. There are also instruments that can be used to measure sulphur compounds in the mouth or swelling around the gums.
How can I help?
- Brush your teeth twice a day and ensure that you use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Your Dentist may advise that you use floss. If so, you should smell the floss after you have used it, to check if there is a smell from a particular part of your mouth. This will enable you to take extra care to clean that area.
- If your tongue is heavily coated, you can gently brush it, which should help to get rid of the smell.
- When your mouth becomes dry the smell of your breath will often get stronger. Chewing sugar-free gum will help to reduce this problem, as it increases the flow of saliva around the mouth.
- Smoking can also make your breath smell. Therefore, it is important to try to give up, not only to resolve the problem of bad breath, but to also help you to maintain a healthy mouth and body.