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Periodontal Disease

If your gums bleed easily when you brush and floss, or if they are red and swollen, this may be a sign of periodontal disease, which attacks the gums and bone that support your teeth and is the most common cause of tooth loss in Australian adults.

Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, turns into calculus or tartar. When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone.

As well as being the number one cause of tooth loss, studies show a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. 

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it, because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. That’s why regular dental checkups with Sydney Laser Dental Care are so crucial to your ongoing oral health.

Periodontal Disease

Before

Periodontal Disease

Early stages

Periodontal Disease

Advanced stages

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Diagnosis

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination, part of your regular dental check-up. We will gently measure the depth of the pockets between your tooth and gums, to determine whether periodontal disease is present.

Based on these pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility and other data, we will make a diagnosis that will fall into one of the following categories:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease.  Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Periodontitis

As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth.  Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus.  The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily.  Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

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Treatment

Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment, depending upon the type and severity of the disease. 

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended.  You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, we will recommend a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing).  This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink.  Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.

If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean.  Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist, a specialist of the gums and supporting bone.

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Maintenance

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings, usually four times a year.  At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy.  Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.

It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar). Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.

Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control.

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Pyrmont Dental Practice

The Atrium
Shop T4.1, 60 Union Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
T: 02 9660 3988
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Sylvania Waters Dental Practice

The Sylvania Waters Centre
near 12 Murrumbidgee Ave
Sylvania Waters NSW 2224
T: 02 9522 3686
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Illawong Dental Practice

Illawong Village.
F8, 273 Fowler Rd, Illawong, NSW 2234
T: 02 9532 0066
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