Hygiene & Gum Disease

Our dental hygienists and dentists play an important role in caring for your oral hygiene. Good hygiene habits and regular check-ups keep your teeth healthy and minimise your chances of gum disease.

Gum Health

Starting with your regular dental examinations, your dentist will measure the health of your mouth to check for signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. If left unmanaged, gingivitis, early inflammation of the gums, which are the supporting structures for your teeth, can deteriorate into periodontal disease. Spotting these signs early with your dentist can catch gum problems at a reversible or early stage.

Dental Hygiene Treatment

Our team of dental hygienists professionally clean your teeth. This is called professional mechanical plaque removal (scaling and polishing). The process removes soft bacterial plaque and calculus from the surface of your teeth and near the gum level. Professional hygienist cleaning can maintain a healthy smile, and improve your ability to perform better oral hygiene at home. Evidence shows the majority of achieving stable gum health relies upon regular and effective at-home oral hygiene. Therefore, a key part of these appointments is education on oral hygiene techniques tailored to your mouth and teeth to prevent gum issues.

Dental Hygiene Habits at Home

Perhaps our most important role is teaching our patients the best way to keep their teeth free of plaque. We’re always happy to show you how to brush and interdentally clean your teeth properly using these recommendations:

  • Brush for two to three minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Use a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use short strokes
  • Brush the outer surface, inner surface and biting surface of every tooth
  • Interdentally clean at least once a day with floss, picks or brushes as recommended by your dentist/hygienist to clean areas toothbrush bristles can’t reach

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease describes swelling, inflammation or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

The first sign of gum disease is noticing bleeding when you clean your teeth or when you eat. Another common sign is tooth sensitivity: healthy gums normally support and seal around the root surface of teeth, so when gums disease occurs, the tooth root surface can become exposed and resulting in sensitivity. Often though, gum disease can be silent and not cause any pain or symptoms until further damage has added up so regular dental visits can help to detect gum disease early.

All gum diseases are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Whilst most bacteria in plaque are harmless, certain bacteria can cause gum disease and these harmful bacteria if left unmanaged will increase over-time. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to effectively remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and interdentally cleaning/flossing as directed by your dentist or hygienist. Every persons mouth and teeth are different so your dentist and hygienist will provide oral hygiene instructions that are tailored to your needs.

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis occurs when the gums around the teeth become inflamed. They will appear very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease, and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Gum / Periodontal Disease Management:

When periodontal disease does develop, the supporting structures for your gums and teeth start to get damaged, and the effects of periodontal disease add up over time. If left untreated, this can weaken the foundations for your teeth, creating risks for dental infections, lead to dental sensitivity, or ultimately result in tooth looseness or losing teeth.

During periodontal consultations at Hutton Village Dental Practice, we can investigate the extent of the periodontal disease and create a plan tailored to stabilising periodontal disease and preserving your own natural teeth. Periodontal treatments involve professional mechanical plaque and calculus removal, above and below the gum level to remove the bacterial cause of the periodontal disease. This supports healing of the gums when combined with good quality at home oral hygiene.

In the stages of managing gingivitis and early gum disease, oral hygienist visits combined with self-performed oral hygiene may be enough to stabilise your gum health. However, in more advanced gum disease management, harmful bacteria may have migrated deeper down the tooth root surface underneath the gum level making them more challenging to effectively remove with routine care.

Periodontal treatment focuses on the management of more advanced gum disease and involves numbing up the teeth and gums in order to gently but thoroughly remove bacteria in these harder to reach areas. This creates the opportunity for the gums to heal and repair and this healing response needs to be closely monitored by your dentist to review if further care is recommended to achieve stable gum health. A long term goal of gum disease management is achieving a stable condition which can then be supported by regular maintenance visits with our oral hygienists at an interval recommended by your dentist. Periodontal and gum health is closely linked to your body’s overall health. It is essential to bring relevant up to date medical history information to your dental appointments and periodontal consultation so that your dental care professional can assess where certain conditions or medications could be having an effect. Conditions such as smoking/vaping, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease can have a profound effect on gum health so it is important to make lifestyle changes where possible to improve your general and gum health.

Surgical Periodontal Management:

In advanced periodontal disease management, sometimes the extent of damage which has already occurred to the supporting structures to your gums has been significant.

Your body’s healing response to non-surgical treatments self-performed oral hygiene may not be enough to achieve a stable periodontal condition.

At reassessment, your dentist may recommend periodontal surgery which can include conservatively removing excessive swelling, or if appropriate regenerating lost structure using grafts, membranes or growth factors.

The Dangers of Untreated Gum Disease

Unfortunately, gum disease typically progresses painlessly so that you do not notice the damage as it happens.

However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze out from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost from gum disease. Delaying gum disease treatment can also make fixing the issue more difficult and involved. It’s always best to see us when you first notice issues with your gums.

Are You Due for a Cleaning?

Cleanings and check-ups should happen every six months. If it’s been longer than that since your last visit to our Brentwood dental practice, it’s time to book an appointment. We’ll help deep clean your teeth and get you back on the right track with your oral hygiene.