At Foundation Dental Services, we specialise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. We are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation and severe gum disease, treating patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures. In addition, we are specially trained in the placement and repair of dental implants.
The following information is provided to help cover the basic processes and possible treatment options to best restore the health of your gums. Further details will be provided by your clinician during treatment.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontitis (or “infection around the teeth”) has also been called Pyorrhoea (pronounced “pie-re-ah”), Periodontal Disease or Gum Disease. It involves a deep bacterial infection of the gums caused by various germs found in dental plaque. Over time, this leads to the progressive loss of attachment between the teeth and the supporting gums. Eventually, without treatment, a person will become “long in the tooth” and finally their teeth can literally “loosen up and fall out”.
How do I know if I have it?
Often people are unaware that they have any gum problems. That is why Periodontitis is referred to as a “Silent Disease”. However there are many signs that may indicate that you have a problem:
- Gums that are swollen, bleed easily, have receded or are very red.
- A general malodour or a bad taste in the mouth (particularly in the mornings).
- Loose teeth or drifting of the teeth out of position.
- Food impaction, rapid calculus (tartar) build-up, sensitivity or gaps.
Your dentist may also become aware of it by noticing bone loss on your x-rays or finding “pockets” (ie attachment loss) when checking your gums as part of a normal dental examination.
How did I get it
Periodontitis is very common. However, a certain number of people in the community will be more “susceptible” to this problem. The cause of Periodontitis is quite complex. Some people appear to have it in combination with other systemic illnesses (eg. diabetes). In other people there is a family history of gum problems or early tooth loss. In another person a local factor may accelerate the problem (eg. smoking). This means that in one person the Periodontitis may have a very specific cause, while in another it may be very difficult to find out why the problem is present. One thing that has been confirmed is that if plaque and calculus is not regularly removed then there is an increased risk of accelerating the damage from Periodontitis.
Can it be treated?
The good news is that Periodontitis usually responds very well to treatment. This treatment involves:
- A careful examination and measurement of tooth attachment levels;
- Thorough deep professional debrident of the bacterial build up from under the gums.
- Help with your home care regime.
- Regular supportive care appointments.
In most cases this is enough to halt the attachment loss and manage the problem. However, once you have been diagnosed with “Periodontitis” you will always remain “at risk” of developing this concern again. This means that it is extremely important that if you have had treatment for this problem – that you keep to the recommended supportive care schedule. Otherwise the bacteria that cause Periodontitis will slowly re-establish themselves and the benefits from treatment will be lost.
What happens to me at Foundation Dental Services?
The clinician will take a very thorough medical and dental history to try and locate any specific cause for your particular problem. A detailed examination of your teeth will then be carried out to see how much damage the Periodontitis has already caused. This collection of information may include additional x-rays. The clinician will then discuss the findings with you and recommend an individual treatment plan to best address your particular concerns.
Will treatment be uncomfortable?
Whenever a deep cleaning procedure is to be carried out the clinician will numb the area with an anaesthetic to ensure minimal discomfort. If you are worried or unsure of a procedure, discuss it with the FDS clinician before treatment. Following treatment the teeth may be sensitive to cold drinks or food but this usually passes with time. You may also notice the gums ‘shrinking’ and becoming ‘firmer’. This is quite normal as they become healthier, less swollen and return to their proper shape.
How long does it take and what does it cost?
The collection of your medical history and clinical dental data is usually completed at the first appointment. Depending upon your treatment plan, there will then be a series of two to four appointments. With each of these appointments to thoroughly treat a small section of your mouth at a time. The cost of treatment is directly related to the chair time required to stabilise the clinical situation. This will vary between different individuals depending upon the extent and severity of the problem. A detailed treatment plan, including a written quote outlining the costs of treatment will be provided following the initial consultation appointment.
Will I get anything back from my health fund?
Rebates from the funds vary depending upon the fund you have chosen and your level of ancillary cover. It is best to approach your fund directly and ask what support they offer to treat periodontal issues.
To find out more or to book an appointment, please get in touch with our friendly team.