There are two forms of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the most common cause for bleeding gums. It is characterised by mild inflammation (swelling) of the top surfaces of the gum (the area of the gums visible between the teeth).
They may also appear red in colour, shiny and the "triangle" points may seem ill defined (not pointed or firm).
The sufferer may experience bleeding when cleaning their teeth; this can vary in severity from mild, moderate or immediate and / or spontaneous bleeding.
It is also important to note that some people will NOT get any bleeding at all, this does not necessarily mean that their gums are healthy, usually from my experience the client just isn't including the gums when they are cleaning their teeth!
That is why gum disease can be referred to as a "silent" disease, not displaying any obvious clues that would prompt a person to seek professional advice!
(I will discuss the professional management of gum disease and my role as a Dental Hygienist a little later on in this document)
Bad breath (Halitosis) may also accompany the symptoms, (usually the main reason clients may want to see a Dentist and / or Hygienist)!!!
Gingivitis affects almost everyone (even Hygienists and Dentists) from time to time, normally if you have been a little lax with your dental hygiene. Good cleaning usually reverses the condition and no long term damaged has occurred.
However the second from of gum disease, PERIODONTITIS is accountable for the most common cause of tooth loss in adults and the effects of this condition –if not treated and controlled, will cause irreversible damage to the gums & the surrounding fibres and structures that hold our teeth in place!!!!!
The cause of both conditions is the same culprit.........Bacterial Dental Plaque!!!!
Dental plaque is a combination of bacteria & food debris. It is usually invisible to the eye, unless of course it has been left to mature & thicken on the teeth.
If not removed on a daily basis by a toothbrush, dental floss etc then the bacteria will become more potent and damaging to the gums. It will collect under the gums and harden; this is then commonly referred to as "tartar" or more correctly in the professional field as Calculus.
The bacteria thrive under the gums and it then starts to "loosen" the gum so more germs can collect in the "gaps" created or "pockets" around the teeth.
The deeper these "pockets" get the more destruction it causes; it also makes it more difficult for you the client and me your Dental hygienist to remove.
It is so, so important to see a Dental hygienist regularly, how often will depend on the current status of your gum health, it is something I will decide on once I have a more detailed assessment of you oral health.
As your Dental Hygienist, I will carry out a detailed individualised assessment of your gums.
I will use special colouring tablets that show you how much dental plaque you are leaving in your mouth by "dyeing" it using a harmless colouring agent. This helps me to demonstrate to the client areas they are missing, making the "invisible" dental plaque visible to the eye!
I will also calculate all areas of the gums, which are bleeding in your mouth and present each client with their very own personalised percentage score.
This is an excellent educational & motivational tool, which I will then use to monitor at each visit to determine progress. I will also work together with my clients to ensure that the plaque & bleeding scores are at a low level to ensure optimum oral health.
In addition to this, I will carry out detailed recordings of your gums, measuring the gaps in between your teeth, to determine what type of gum disease each client has.
Once that is determined then I can decide on the best individualised treatment options and plan for my client. (Look out for our new "Periodontal treatment package plans"...coming soon)!
Dental hygienist's role in managing gum disease:
As your Dental Hygienist my role is ultimately making your mouth "tartar" and dental plaque free so that the healing process of your gums can begin.
I will essentially be removing all hard and soft deposits off the teeth so that it is much easier for my clients to clean EVERY surface of their teeth.
Each tooth is a 3D structure comprising of 5 surfaces to it- Front, back, Biting surface and the 2 spaces in between the teeth.
The total number of teeth in an adult can be up to 32! That is a combined total of 160 surfaces a client has to clean in order to have a healthy disease free mouth!
In order to achieve full debridement of these deposits (plaque & calculus), I will use various specialist equipment:
If a client has very sensitive teeth then I am fully trained to use Local anaesthetic solutions and gels to help alleviate this, (please ensure you book an appropriate appointment time to allow time for me to do this).
It is worth noting also, that some clients may need more than 1 session to fully remove all deposits in their mouth, your dentist should be able to decide and advise you accordingly. If you have any doubt then please feel free to ask me on the day of your appointment.
Lastly once my treatment is complete then I will always advise my clients to see me regularly as part of my maintenance programme. This ensures that optimum oral health is achieved and most importantly stabilised.
Frequency depends on individual susceptibility and how much support each client needs.
The good news is that the management and stabilisation is easy....It's up to you....you are in total control!!!!!!
To make it even easier for you, I have broken down the management process into 3 simple points:
1. Routine is so important; you have to decide on a time in the day suits you! Individualise a set time that you can commit to, to complete your oral hygiene regime.
2. Technique, again very important, technique is all about how you clean your teeth & gums. I will assist each patient with this at each appointment to demonstrate the correct technique to follow....how to brush your teeth, what to use and how to clean in-between your teeth and under the gum line.
The correct technique is always the same, but what each patient uses will be advised by a patient by patient basis, supporting each individual patient's needs.
3. Consistency, this process is fairly self explanatory, however it is probably the most challenging to achieve.
Cleaning every day correctly is so important, the gums can heal very quickly but unfortunately if your oh regime is not followed on a strict daily basis, they can become very inflamed and diseased rapidly also.
So to summarise you, the patient have complete control in winning the battle between gum disease and achieving a healthy and happy mouth.« Back to Services