Frequently Asked Questions about gum disease

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is also known as gingivitis and when it becomes more serious periodontitis. It is when gums become sore, swollen and inflamed in response to harmful bacterial plaque below the gum margin. Gum disease is very common, with 83% of adults in the UK being diagnosed with some level of gum disease. If left untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which affects the tissue surrounding the tooth, holding it in place. In severe cases, the bone supporting the teeth disappears, teeth become loose and can even fall out.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque in your mouth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria, which, if not removed by a good oral care routine, can cause gums to become irritated and inflamed.

What are the signs of gum disease?

You may not be aware that you have gum disease as in many cases it is not always painful and some symptoms are not obvious. However, if you notice any of the following; red and swollen gums, bleeding gums after brushing or flossing, receding gums, a strange taste in your mouth, bad breath or loose teeth, then you need to come and see us as soon as possible.

Is gum disease linked to other health issues?

Most people are unaware of this, but scientists are continually finding proven links between gum disease and other serious health problems such as Diabetes, Heart disease, Stroke, Rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

If left untreated your gums can become inflamed and swollen. This inflammation can affect the bloodstream, damaging blood vessels in the heart and brain, potentially leading to serious health issues.

Can gum disease be cured?

Yes. We can treat gum disease by helping you establish a good oral health routine and advising you on how to brush your teeth correctly. We can also thoroughly clean the surfaces of your teeth below the gum margin where the major plaque build-up occurs and causes gum disease.

I already clean my teeth so why do my gums bleed?

Although it is something we do every day most people have never been shown how to clean their teeth properly. Plaque can be left behind, especially below the gums around the gum margin, inflaming them and causing them to bleed. To avoid this, we can develop an individual treatment plan for you and show you how to develop an effective brushing routine.

Is gum disease hereditary?

Yes, it can be. If members of your family have gum disease, then establishing a good oral health routine as soon as possible is highly recommended. If you are prone to gum disease, then it is even more important to establish an effective brushing routine.

Will treatment get rid of bad breath?

Almost definitely. Most halitosis (bad breath) comes from compounds produced by oral bacteria, so if you establish a good oral health routine and practice effective brushing, then this should get rid of any bad breath causing bacteria, giving you a fresher feeling mouth and better smelling breath.

How much will treatment cost?

Costs will depend on the level of the treatment you need based on the severity of your gum problems. We will give you a full assessment, recommend a treatment plan for you and make sure you are fully aware of any associated costs. To see a list of our prices, please see Fees section.

Does the treatment hurt?

This depends on you to a large extent. When gums are inflamed they can be quite tender, however as we start to gain control of the condition this soreness usually fades. Some patients also find that their teeth can be quite sensitive as a result of treatment, but this usually subsides over a period of time.

We do our utmost to make your treatment as comfortable as possible by using warm water and low volume aspiration when cleaning your teeth. However, if you are still finding it too uncomfortable please let us know and we can use a dental anaesthetic to completely deaden your mouth during treatment.

Why has no one ever told me I have gum disease before?

We don’t know. All dentists should be aware of the signs of gum disease and they should examine your gums at every check-up, arranging for proper treatment should gum disease be present. Unfortunately, in some cases this doesn’t always happen.

At Life Dental & Wellbeing we specifically look for gum disease in your mouth at every appointment and quickly and correctly treat any problems we find.

So is decay a thing of the past?

Unfortunately not. However, if you follow our advice on establishing a good oral care routine, learn how to clean your teeth effectively, use high fluoride toothpaste and improve your nutrition and general lifestyle, you may never need another filling.