Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colourless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” or “calculus” that brushing doesn’t clean. This can only be removed by a dentist or a dental hygienist.

The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria causes inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.” The signs of gingivitis are redness along the necks of the teeth, slight swelling and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed after your dentist has cleaned your teeth and with daily brushing and flossing. This form of gum disease does not usually cause any loss of bone and tissues that hold teeth in place.

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system tries to fight the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.  As the bone and connective tissue are broken down, this serves as nutrients and a food source for the bacteria to multiply and spread.  If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.

Please contact us on (02) 9712 0823 should you have any concerns.