Hygiene / Periodontal Care
Hygiene and Periodontal (gum treatment) Care
We recommend regular hygiene appointments to remove the harmful bacteria from your gums around the neck of the teeth, as well as cleaning and polishing your teeth. This can be carried out by our hygienist or one of the dentists.
We have a dental hygienist / dental therapist providing dental hygiene appointments to clean teeth and improve gum health as well as help you to maintain a healthier mouth. All of our clinicians take gum health very seriously. We will often demonstrate effective ways to clean your teeth and gums and stress the importance of getting this right.
Sometimes it is necessary to provide more intensive cleaning where there is periodontal disease (‘gum disease’) present. We can detect this at an early stage with regular visits and plan a series of treatments to slow down the process and prevent early tooth loss. In many cases we can successfully stop further deterioration to the gum tissues, enabling you to hold onto your teeth longer.
The dentists here recognise the need for healthy gums in order to support more complex treatments and they will give you a clear indication of the need for more intensive periodontal (gum) treatment if this is necessary, prior to embarking on other restorative treatments. We may postpone some other treatments where we feel that poor gum health would jeopardise it, as we are keen to give you the best approach and the best prognosis for your teeth.
Air flow polish
This is for stain removal and works with a fine jet of bicarbonate particles in water and air. This gives a better level of stain removal than a routine polish for an instant brighter look to your teeth.
Many patients add this on to their routine hygiene appointment for a small extra charge to enjoy a brighter, more pleasing result.
Facts about gum disease
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Each tooth has a cuff of gum all the way around it at the neck of the tooth, and this cuff of gum is called the gingival margin.
A film of plaque known as the biofilm builds up along the gingival margin every day. This biofilm contains bacteria which live in the mouth and which are trying to settle somewhere so that they can become organised like an army.
If the bacteria in the biofilm have sufficient time to become organised, they are able to excrete toxins into the gingival tissues. The gums react to these toxins in a defensive way by becoming inflamed. This is when the gums feel sore to brush and bleed easily and may appear slightly swollen. This is what many people become concerned about.
If this inflammatory reaction continues, there is a breakdown of the little fibres (attachments) which hold the cuff of gum tightly around the neck of the tooth. Once this happens the gum moves away from the tooth, creating a gap known as a pocket. The bacterial biofilm then develops deeper into these pockets and continues the process of breakdown of the gum tissue through the resulting inflammation.
At first this process is reversible with effective tooth brushing and interdental cleaning. If left to continue, eventually there is breakdown of the bone which holds the teeth firmly in the jaw and the teeth become loose. This process eventually becomes an irreversible condition which will result in tooth loss.
If the biofilm containing bacteria is disturbed and removed before the process becomes irreversible, the bacteria cannot get organised and therefore will not be able to excrete toxins into the gum. The inflammation very quickly disappears once the biofilm is regularly removed and the gum tightens up around the neck of the tooth again. The gum tissue will feel more comfortable when brushed at this stage.
Research has shown that by simply brushing the gum margins effectively twice a day, the biofilm is prevented from causing any problems to the gum.
Either an electric or a manual tooth brush will brush the gums effectively if used in the correct way. If you aren’t sure whether you are using your tooth brush in the best way to clean the gums effectively we can show you how to do this.
By brushing the areas that bleed and hurt thoroughly, the bacteria are removed and the inflammation will resolve in about 4-5 days. Hence the bleeding and discomfort will stop.
So it is important not to avoid brushing the painful and bleeding gums because although it seems counterintuitive, this will resolve the problem quickly.
When brushing your teeth and gums, always remember that the cuff of gum goes all the way around each tooth, so it is important to brush with this in mind. Follow the gum through in between each tooth with your brush. Remember to brush the inside surfaces of your teeth (by your tongue and palate) as much as the outside surfaces (by your cheeks).
If you do have bleeding or painful gums it is important to seek professional advice as early as possible.