The University Dental and Implant Centre
The University Dental and Implant Centre
5 Pritchatts Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2QU
Tel: 0121 687 8882 • Fax: 0121 687 8883

Gum (Periodontal) Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease affects the gum and the bone that surrounds the teeth. Most people who have periodontal disease are rarely aware of it. It is very often not painful, especially in the early stages.

The main cause is accumulation of plaque. Plaque is the sticky bacterial film that forms constantly on your teeth. Over a period of time the plaque can induce bleeding of the gums and pocketing. As part of our routine dental exmination we carry out a Basic Periodontal Examination (BPE) to make sure you do not have any pocketing. We also take X-rays when needed to see the amount of any bone loss.The animation below shows the effect of pocketing and bone loss. As you can see, at a very advanced stage the tooth can become loose and fall out!

[Healthy Gums]   [Pocketing of gums]
Left: Healthy gums. Right: Gums showing pocketing.

[Animation - tooth falling out because of pocketing   [Checking for gum pocketing as part of a routine examination]
Left: Animation - tooth becoming loose because of pocketing. Right: Checking for gum pocketing as part of a routine examination.

Bleeding is a sign of gum problems — Healthy Gums Don’t Bleed.

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What can we do to treat Periodontal Disease?

Our dental hygienists are specifically trained to help you with gum problems. The main aspects of treatment are:

  • Brushing and cleaning your teeth as instructed by your dentist or hygienist. Particluarly important is the use of dental floss and interdental brushes (TePe Brushes) as plaque build up in areas which are hardest to clean.
  • Scaling of your teeth on a regular basis to remove hard deposits of tartar which accumulate around your gums.
  • Regular check-ups to ensure your gums remain healthy and monitor any pockets.
  • Removing risk factors such as smoking. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for periodontal disease after plaque.

Visiting the dentist and hygienist are an essential part of the preventive programme that we strongly recommend to help preserve your teeth.

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How often should I have a scaling?

It all depends upon your particular situation. Your dentist will examine you and give you the appropriate advice. Someone who has very little signs of gums disease may only need a scaling every 12 months. Others who have more advanced gum conditions may need scaling every 3 months. The average tends to be every 6 months.

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