Periodontics is the area of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases that affect the gums, bone and supporting tissues of the teeth. Gum disease is a very common problem and is now the leading cause of tooth loss amongst adults, with many people experiencing some form of gum disease during their lifetime.
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria which forms daily on the surface of teeth and gums and causes the enamel to decay. If plaque is not removed by twice-daily brushing and regular flossing it builds up over time, becoming hard and forming what is known as tartar that brushing alone cannot remove.
Only professional ‘deep cleaning’ by a dentist or dental hygienist can successfully remove tartar. The longer plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the more damage will be caused, resulting in irritation of the gums, making them red and swollen with a tendency to bleed, especially during brushing. This condition is gingivitis, which is a significant yet treatable form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with careful brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dental hygienist.
If gingivitis is left untreated the gums and bone that anchor the teeth can start to erode and recede, causing teeth to become loose, or possibly fall out completely. This is known as periodontal disease for which there is no specific cure. Depending on the severity of the condition it can be controlled through careful oral care and special treatment from your dentist and dental hygienist.
At Woodlands Dental our dentists and dental hygienists always carry out a thorough examination of your gums during routine dental examinations to ensure any sign of gum disease is spotted early and treated. Your hygienist can show you how to brush properly and how to use floss and inter-dental brushes to remove food debris and plaque from places your toothbrush simply can’t reach.
If you are worried about your teeth and gums or would like further information about periodontal treatment please do not hesitate to get in touch to arrange a consultation.
Consultant Specialist Periodontist
BDS MFDS MClinDent Perio MRD RCS
GDC reg. 80935
Dr Malaki qualified as a dentist from the University of Sheffield. She then worked in general dental practice for few years and also worked as a senior house officer in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. During this time, Dr Malaki successfully obtained her Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons (England).
Dr. Malaki commenced a three year full time specialist training program in Periodontology at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Dental Hospital. She completed postgraduate with MClinDent in Periodontology, and was also awarded the Membership in Restorative Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 2010.
Currently, Dr Malaki works part-time as a Consultant in the Periodontology department at Guy’s Dental Hospital, London. She dedicates the remainder of her time to private practice and co-running postgraduate academy course. Dr Malaki is an accredited specialist Periodontist on the General Dental Council register and treats patients for the following:
- Periodontal assessment
- Treatment of periodontal diseases
- Crown lengthening procedures
- Treatment of gummy smiles
- Periodontal surgeries
- Regenerative surgeries
- Surgeries to correct/improve gum recession
- Management of peri-implantitis
Gum disease (also known as periodontitis) is a common condition that affects many individuals at some point during their lives and if not treated, in most cases, can lead to the eventual loss of a tooth.
The majority of those affected (85%), have the disease in its moderate form, where as approximately 15% have it in its severe form.
Periodontitis can cause serious problems for the teeth and gums, leading to the surrounding areas becoming red and inflamed and often to bleed when brushing. As the condition worsens, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, which can cause the teeth to feel loose. If this issue is left untreated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
If oral health is maintained to a high standard, gums will be pink and firm while keeping the teeth anchored securely in place. Additionally, they should not hurt or bleed when they are touched.
While gum disease is not usually painful, sufferers may notice swollen and redness of the tissue, as well as bleeding after brushing or flossing is carried out.
The signs of periodontitis, which develops if the original problem is left untreated, are usually more severe than that of the aforementioned issue. However, there are a number of additional symptoms to look out for, including:
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Pus coming from the gums
- Receding gums that make more of the tooth visible
- Sensitive teeth after the consumption of hot and cold foods
- Loose teeth, which can make eating a more difficult task
- Spacing between the teeth
- A change in the bite
- Teeth falling out of the socket
While the disease can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common basis is a lack of oral hygiene that eventually results in a heavy build-up of plaque. The soft, sticky substance is formed when bacteria collects on the surface of the teeth and can result in long-term issues if left untreated.
There are also a number of risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing the condition, with smoking among the main causes of gum disease – as well as the easiest to avoid.
Additionally, diabetes and a weakened immune system can lead to an upturn in risk.
Rather than looking for ways to treat gum disease, it is recommended that patients enquire how best to prevent the onset of the condition. Just a few simple steps could result in individuals maintaining their oral health and perfect smile well into the future.
An efficient hygiene routine includes:
- Brushing between two and three minutes twice every day
- Using a toothpaste that includes fluoride to protect against tooth decay
- Using interdental devices between teeth on a daily basis
- Abstaining from unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking
- Regular check-ups with dentist and hygienist to detect any early signs of periodontal disease.
The consequences of not treating gum disease are serious. If the symptoms of swollen and bleeding gums are ignored, the gums can start to erode and the teeth will lose support and possibly fall out. This is known as periodontitis, a disease which can be controlled but not cured.
There is some evidence to suggest that people with serious gum disease are more prone to heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but few people are aware of these links. Maintaining a good level of oral hygiene should be part of your approach to improve overall health.
Patients who have noticed they are displaying some of the symptoms of this condition should arrange to see dentist as soon as possible.
Those who are suffering from periodontitis are most likely to require a referral to specialist periodontist for a detailed assessment that includes X-rays. Depending on the severity of the disease, the specialist will formulate a treatment plan. Usually, the initial treatment consists of thorough oral hygiene instructions (by hygienist), followed by Root surface debridement (RSD) by the specialist.
RSD is the procedure whereby the roots of the teeth are debrided of plaque and tartar hence allowing for reattachment of the tissues. This procedure will require local anaesthesia; you are awake.