Why You Should Have Straight Teeth, This Might Surprise You.

14th July, 2014

Presentation1One of the main reasons people decide to have orthodontic braces to get straighter teeth is because straight teeth look better, but from a purely dental and health point of view this is not the main reason you should consider straighter teeth. Did you know that straight teeth are easier to clean? And being easier to clean means they are healthier…

Irritable Bowl Disease

Recent research has shown a link between oral bacteria and a flareup of irritable bowel disease, The research identified that the bacteria invaded the bloodstream which then aggravated any existing irritable bowel causing the flareup, these bacteria are commonly found in the mouth! This research is linked to additional research which shows that the bacteria associated with gum disease and the more severe periodontitis can act as a keystone bacteria, this means their presence can instigate other processes and pathogens in the human body which can lead to Colon cancer and other inflammatory diseases.

So it’s clear that not only will keeping your teeth clean ensure that your teeth are healthy, it also helps to promote overall body health… So where do straight teeth fit in?

Straighter teeth are far easier to clean as you can get into those difficult to reach areas between your teeth. If your teeth are crooked or overlapping then it is harder to reach these areas, particularly with floss. This can lead to a buildup of these harmful bacteria which could eventually lead to the onset of other inflammatory diseases around the body.

So now that you know the importance of straighter teeth, let’s look at some of your options if you decide to have braces.

Option 1: Cfast

cfast Orthodontic braces with clear brackets and tooth coloured wiresCFast is one of the most modern option for orthodontic braces in our Harrow dental practice. These braces is a combination of tooth coloured wires and clear brackets to straighten the front 6 teeth on the top and bottom jaw only.

Because we are only straightening these front teeth we can move them much faster than standard braces which may also be moving the back teeth also. This makes CFast excellent for cosmetic orthodontics and also helps to straighten the teeth making them easier to clean.

 

 

 

Option 2: Six Month Smiles

Six Month Smiles is is one of those orthodontic systems which does exactly what it says on the tin, straighter teeth in approximately 6 months!

Before and after six month smiles

Once again, this is the modern alternative to classic train track braces and works with a trademarked clear bracket which is bonded due tooth.

These brackets are barely visible and are able to achieve a predictable result using low forces with short overall treatment times which means the treatment is more comfortable, safe and allows you to keep your teeth cleaner, which is great if your overall body health.

The results with six months miles can be quite amazing.

Option 3: Inman Aligner

Inman alignerThe Inman aligner offers an alternative type of orthodontic brace. Both of the options above are fixed orthodontics, the Inman aligner is a removable option. This has the advantage of being able to use different forces in the way of springs to move your teeth.

As you can see in this image these braces push and pull your teeth at the same time, working from inside your mouth and outside in unison with one another. This unique way of using braces means we can achieve a straighter smile in approximately 12 to 16 weeks, much faster than any other orthodontic system.

You would need to ensure that the where these braces for a minimum of 20 hours per day, removing them only to eat and clean your teeth. This means your commitment to wearing braces needs to be high with you strongly motivated to achieve your straighter smile.

Once again, the Inman aligner is only used for the front six teeth to straighten them out providing you with an easier to clean smile.

Option 4: Clear Braces

Clear bracesThese braces, once again, do exactly what they say on the tin, they are clear! These clear braces work by applying a small amount of pressure to your teeth in the direction required to move them. Once this small amount of movement has been achieved you will replace the removable clear brace with a new one. Typically replacing each race every two weeks.

Treatment times are approximately one year with this system, depending upon how much your teeth need to move. Once again we are normally only moving the front six teeth into a straighter alignment to achieve a more cosmetic result which is easier to keep clean.

As with the Inman aligner you will need to wear your clear braces for approximately 20 hours per day, only removing them to eat and clean your teeth. You can even continue to wear them in full view of the public, perhaps whilst teaching or giving a presentation, nobody else will ever know!

How to get orthodontic braces

We recommend that you do some research online before deciding which dentist to go to to have orthodontics. The systems described above require that your dentist is certified to use them, we suggest you ask to see this certification at your initial consultation. Many dentists offer an initial consultation either at a discounted rate or for free, do spend some time looking at their website to see if this is on offer at the dental practice local to you.

We also recommend that you ask the dentist for a series of reviews of their practice, this will leave you with peace of mind knowing that you have found a practice that other people like.

A good dentist should also have a range of before and after photographs to show you, please ask to see them when you go for your initial consultation. The photographs should be presented nicely and you should clearly be able to see the difference between the before treatment and after treatment photographs. Seeing these images allows you to know that the dentist you have found can actually do what they say they can and achieve the results that you want. Most dentists will have a range of photographs, so asked to see photographs which are similar to your own situation.

If you live in the Harrow HA1 area of Middlesex Then why not pop in to see us on the Watford Road. We are a modern dental practice offering a range of orthodontic braces to help you achieve a straighter and healthier smile… And we also offer a free consultation to anyone considering braces, please click here to download a voucher entitling you to this free assessment.


My Sweet Treats

7th July, 2014

IMG_7465 IMG_7467

This young gentleman came to us when he started noticing something very odd about his tooth.  It appeared to be changing colour.  It started off as a greyish shadow, and as months went by,  it became darker and more obvious.  A large groove had developed and every time the patient laughed or smiled, he would raise his hands to cover his mouth (picture 1).  For a very sociable young man, his confidence had started to drop.

After a consultation between the patient and Dr Dixit, it was found that the patient had a high sugar diet consisting of fizzy drinks, cakes and biscuits.  The frequency of the sugary foods and the inability to clean affectively caused his tooth to decay close to the gum margin.  To restore this badly decayed tooth,  the decay was cleaned out (picture 2)  and replaced with  a composite tooth coloured filling material (picture 3) .

IMG_7469

The  filling material blended in with the patients existing tooth colour.  The patient was very pleased with the result.  His confidence had been regained and he no longer covered his mouth when he laughed.  He felt very proud and happy to show off  his natural looking new tooth.


A cosmetic dentistry article by Nishan Dixit

19th June, 2014

As a board member and scientific director and education chair of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, our very own Dr Nishan Dixit is often asked to publish articles on successful cases so that others in the dental profession can learn from his successes. Here is one such article published in The Dentist, Issue 76,  April 2014.

A Happy patient

Nishan Dixit describes a non-invasive composite restoration using a multi-layer technique.

 

Pre treatment

Pre treatment

67 year old male patient presented with a lingual cusp fracture in his lower right first pre-molar, which had an old amalgam restoration. He was not experiencing any pain, but was aware of the rough edge. Since the fracture had occurred, the patient had also become more self-conscious about the discolouration of the tooth.

The treatment options were discussed with the patient. The tooth could either be restored with a direct composite or an indirect laboratory-manufactured restoration. The patient decided on the composite option, as this would provide a more immediate and less disruptive solution. I prefer to offer composite treatment, rather than more invasive procedures, when the clinical situation allows. This is more affordable for the patient, and the durability of the material makes it a realistic long-term alternative.

 

Post-treatment

Post-treatment

Having been a provider of cosmetic dentistry for almost 20 years, I have observed a number of improvements in materials. Long-term studies have proved the reliability of modern composites. The latest developments have produced composites that are more resistant to wear and have better colour stability, combined with reduced polymerisation shrinkage rates.

Composite selection

For a number of years,I have used the Heraeus Venus range of composites exclusively, due to their handling properties and the results achievable. For this case, I chose to use Venus Pearl. It gives high aesthetic outcomes using a multi-layer technique, providing excellent colour adaptation and a natural finish. The material is easy to use, masks well and is highly sculptable and polishable. Compared with earlier technologies, the cured  composite is more flexible under stress and more durable over time.

Venus Pearl includes super-fine nano-hybrid filler particles. This provides even more natural light refraction and supreme aesthetic appearance, combined with a creamy application.

Treatment and outcome

At the treatment appointment, local anaesthetic was administered and the tooth was isolated with rubber dam and a clamp system. The old amalgam restoration was removed and the cavity was rendered caries free. The preparation margins were smoothed and the enamel margins bevelled. A matrix band was then adapted to the tooth. The prepared cavity was etched with 37 per cent phosphoric acid using a total etch technique. The cavity was thoroughly washed, gently dried and primed. Then a bonding agent was placed and polymerised.

Venus Pearl OMC (Opaque Medium Chromatic) was applied to the cavity in 2mm increments. The composite was adapted to the cavity, using a microbrush in a ‘patting’ motion, then polymerised . Approximately 20 per cent of the cavity was filled with OMC and the remaining 80 percent was filled with the Venus Pearl A3 shade. The build-up of the composite was done on a cusp-by¬cusp basis, gradually creating the tooth shape and fissure pattern. During the incremental build-up a small amount of dark brown stain was applied in the fissure areas using an explorer.

Finally, the restoration was polished with Venus Supra discs and a silicone carbide brush. The outcome was a restoration with good aesthetics, achieved with minimum loss of tooth substance and completed in one short visit. The patient was extremely pleased with the end result, leaving him feeling like he had “a new, natural-looking tooth”. He had absolutely no post operative sensitivity or pain. Subsequent recall appointments have shown this has continued to be the case. The treatment has left a healthy tooth and a happy patient.


Practice Update

14th May, 2014

Dr Nishan Dixit recently attended The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s (AACD) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, USA.

The conference, AACD 2014, took place April 30-May 3 and was the Academy’s 30th anniversary scientific session. Dr Nishan Dixit had access to multiple hands-on workshops and lectures during the conference, which was attended by an estimated 1,700 dental professionals.

The conference is cosmetic dentistry’s premier event, with some of the world’s most well-known dental educators, live dentistry, access to the latest cosmetic dentistry innovations in the AACD Exhibit Hall, and much more.

Dr James Hastings, the current AACD President said:

“By attending AACD 2014, Dr Dixit is not only showing his commitment to education and the cosmetic dentistry field, but to his patients, the education he received in Orlando will help him provide the best care to those he cares about the most.”


Have your teeth become crooked again after having braces when you were younger?

21st February, 2014

 European Society aesthetic orthodonticsOne of the most common reasons for patients visiting the dentist for teeth straightening is relapse after having orthodontics when they were younger. Patients often find that once they stop wearing their retainers that their teeth can begin to move back to where they were before. Coupled with the fact that as we get older our teeth have a tendency to drift forwards and become more overcrowded.
So if you find that your teeth are becoming more crooked again, after having orthodontics as a child, then you are not alone.

So what is the solution?

The European Society of Aesthetic Orthodontics (ESAO) recognises the need for a variety of orthodontic treatments of this nature and ensures that its members provide a qualified, informed choice for patients when considering this type of treatment, Dr Nishan Dixit is pleased to be a member of the ESAO and can offer you a wide range of orthodontic options from his dental practice in Harrow.
Teeth-straightening  can be a relatively simple, speedy and painless option if you have crooked teeth, so let’s look at what those options are:

Rapid Tooth Straightening

Within this category of orthodontics fall 3 particular treatments:
  • Six Month Smiles
  • Inman Aligner
  • CFast

Six Month Smiles

Faith Hill has adult orthodontic bracesAs the name suggests Six Month Smiles offers orthodontics which take, on average, six months to achieve the new look. The system is fixed using tooth coloured wires and brackets to ensure that no one else knows that you have braces fitted. As with most of these aesthetic orthodontic options Six Month Smiles is only used to straighten the front six teeth, often known as the social six.

Inman Aligner

This is a removable appliance, which utilises a revolutionary spring design which both pushes and pulls at the same time depending on where we want teeth to move. The brace can only move your front six teeth by gently  de-rotating them and then realigning them. Unlike six month smiles you can take out an Inman Aligner, you need to resist this temptation as much as possible and ensure that you wear your aligner for around 20 hours per day, simply removing it to eat, drink and clean your teeth.
One of the big advantages with the Inman Aligner is due to the revolutionary technology in the springs which  enable it to move your teeth very quickly, often in around 12 weeks. If you have a short period of time to have your teeth straightened then the Inman Aligner could be your ideal option.

Cfast

This technique is similar to 6 month smiles in that it utilises fixed orthodontics to move your teeth into their new positions. The system also utilises almost invisible orthodontics with clear braces in some instances. This makes Cfast one of the most versatile orthodontic systems around meaning you get the best teeth, straightening result with the minimum amount of hassle.

Almost Invisible Tooth Straightening

Clear Aligners

Clear Aligners - invisible bracesClear Aligners are exactly that, completely clear. They work by moving your teeth a small amount at a time. You will be provided with a series of aligners which you will typically wear for about two weeks each. Each aligner puts a small amount of pressure on your teeth to move them or rotate them to their new position. Once your teeth have moved a tiny amount you will replace the aligner with the next one in the series.
The art with using clear aligners is for  your dentist to choose exactly the right amount aligners for your particular case to ensure that your teeth move gently into their new positions.
Many people like clear aligners as they are virtually invisible to the naked eye, this means that if you have a high profile job or are in the public eye you can have straighter teeth with no one else knowing!

In Summary

Adult Orthodontics are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments requested by patients in many dental practices around the UK, and certainly, this is the case at our practice in Harrow, Middlesex. By offering you a range of treatments and being members of the ESAO you can be sure that you are offered something which fits not only your budget but your exact dental requirements.
We strongly recommend that you keep an open mind with regards to treatment, the descriptions listed above are relatively simple and there are additional requirements for each of them to be used. It may be that your dental situation is more suited to one system than another. So going to your dentist with an open mind allows you to be free to choose the best option to you.
Blue Court Dental Centre offer a free consultation, with our treatment co-ordinator, for anyone wishing to find out more about aesthetic orthodontics for teeth that have moved after having braces as children. Simply complete the download here to request your appointment.

How much sugar is too much sugar?

21st January, 2014

In the dental profession we have been warning about the intake of too much sugar for many years,  but why is this? It was originally the ancient Greeks that noticed that if they ate too many soft sweet things it destroyed their teeth, at first they thought it was the sugar which was directly responsible for attacking the teeth however we know today that this is not the case.

When you eat sugar not only does it act as a food for you, it acts as a food for the streptococcus bacteria in your mouth. As these bacteria feed on the sugar they excrete acids and it is these acids which eat away and attack the enamel outer layer of your teeth. These bacteria can be found in the plaque which often collects in between teeth or around the tooth/gum margin, this is why it is important to keep your teeth cleaned daily, flossing and rinsing to ensure that the plaque does not build up and give somewhere for the bacteria to hide.

So, back to our original question..

How much sugar is too much sugar?

The Journal of Dental Research carried out a systematic review to inform WHO guidelines on the effects of restricting sugar intakes in various age groups. The research looked at % of sugar in a daily diet and its relationship to the onset of decay. The problem has been that the research has been interpreted misguidedly.

Various newspapers have unfortunately taken the step of converting this % of sugar into a spoonful amount, probably to make it easier for the general public to work out how much sugar they should be having. These Papers have converted this into between 5 and 7 teaspoons per day. Unfortunately doing this leads people to assume that they can have 5 or 7 teaspoons per day on their cereal, coffee , tea or anywhere else they add sugar.

The biggest problem is they forget that most of the sugar we eat daily is hidden within foods, not added by us afterwards. If we only count the spoonfuls of sugar we add to our food then we will be dramatically exceeding the recommended amounts!

The research reported the following results in their abstract:

  • 42 out of 50 of the studies in children, and 5 out of 5 in adults, reported at least one positive association between sugars and dental decay
  • there was “moderate quality” evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay when sugar intake is less than 10% of calorie intake, compared with more than 10%
  • there was “very low quality” evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay when sugar intake is less than 5%, compared with 5-10% of calorie intake

So it seems that the research is suggesting if we keep our sugar intake below 10% of calorie intake then there is ‘moderate quality’ evidence to show a lower risk of dental decay… So perhaps we should start doing that!

How do we know how much sugar we are eating?

428917_10151902435505077_2073527866_n

We thought we’d give a rough guide to the amount of sugar contained within various food stuffs so that you can be sure to keep your intake ideally less than 10%.

  • A can of Coke contains approximately 11 spoonfuls of sugar increasing to 28 spoonfuls in the largest bottle
  • a McDonald’s Coke also contains 28 spoonfuls of sugar
  • a tub of Haagen Das ice cream contains 21 spoonfuls of sugar
  • the average chocolate bar contains around 10 spoonfuls of sugar
  • one breakfast pop tarts contains approximately 4 1/2 spoonfuls of sugar
  • One bowl of frosted cornflakes contains 6 spoonfuls of sugar
  • One NutriGrain Contains 3 1/2 spoonfuls of sugar
  • A Starbucks Mocha Frappuccion contains 12 spoonfuls of sugar
  • A McDonald’s Medium chocolate milkshake contains 28 spoonfuls of sugar

Statistics taken from Sugar Stacks - They have included all forms of sugar in these statistics and have simply turned it into a ‘spoonfuls’ amount to make it easier to understand.

Summary

Research over the years has clearly shown that Eating too much sugar will directly impact oral health, the only question lies around exactly how much is too much. The new research seems to suggest that when we keep sugar intake below 10% (Or around 5 to 7 spoonfuls of all sugar intake per day) there is moderate quality evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay, and that can only be good.

Our advice therefore is to look at the quantity of sugar in the food that you eat, remember that sugar can be from many sources and it’s not just the sugar which we add to food that counts.

So how much sugar do you eat per day? Let us know in the comments section below this blog post, and then tell us what you’re going to do to cut down…

 


Teeth Whitening – An Honest Review

17th December, 2013

With more and more people looking for cosmetic dentistry, particularly teeth whitening in the Harrow area we thought we would write an article which outlines some of the problems faced by the general public when looking to have whiter teeth.

Driving down the cost of teeth whitening

whitening-productsTeeth whitening is often viewed as a quick fix and many people are looking for the cheapest option. This has driven many patients to the idea of whitening their teeth at home – just doing a search for teeth whiteners on Amazon brings up a whole host of options including home whitening kits, elastic gel whitening strips, advanced teeth whitening programs, toothpastes, laser lights and whitening pens.

Amazingly some of these products start from as low as 30p for the plasma whitening light and £3.17 for the whitening pens so it is easy to understand why the temptation is there. Here’s more detailed information on that search on Amazon.

Also reported in the Harrow Times a couple of years ago was a trading standards report which carried out tests on some DIY whitening products and found some of them contained 7.3% hydrogen peroxide which is way over 0.1% legal limit.

We’re aren’t suggesting that any of these products shown here contain these unacceptable levels of hydrogen peroxide, but it’s worth noting that when you purchase things on the Internet you don’t always know exactly what you’re getting as everything is unregulated.

Going to a Beauty Salon for Teeth Whitening

Whilst whitening clearly falls within the realms of helping one’s self look and feel better it is worth noting that the General Dental Council (GDC) say:

“We believe that teeth whitening is part of the practice of dentistry and dentistry must only been carried out by the professionals that are registered with us…”

This means that if you have your teeth whitened by anyone other than a dental professional it could be considered illegal and prosecution could follow. The process of whitening teeth uses hydrogen peroxide to bleach them, whilst this is in a very low concentration it needs to be carefully controlled around your delicate gum area. The way this is controlled is by manufacturing a highly customised and bespoke ‘tray’ which fits over your own teeth, this tray is designed in such a way to prevent leaking of the bleaching gel into the gum area.

The manufacture of these trays is something which needs to be undertaken by professional that knows exactly how to design them to prevent damage to your delicate gum.

jailed_OPTTeeth whitening is also not suitable for everyone, you need to have good oral hygiene and be free of certain dental diseases. Only a trained dental professional will be able to tell if your oral health care routine is good enough to have whitening, we have even seen cases where patients have had teeth whitening by non-dental professionals and that patient’s teeth was covered in plaque. The results of this was that it wasn’t the teeth which were whitened, but the plaque, and this will pick up staying again very quickly.

A dental professional would recognise this problem early on and recommend a course of oral hygiene education/treatment before the teeth whitening is carried out.

In rare circumstances we have also seen teeth whitening performed by non-dental professionals to cause burning of the gums. This can happen if the customised whitening tray does not fit well enough, once again it takes a fully trained dental professional to recognise this problem at an early stage.

The problem of non-dental professionals undertaking teeth whitening has become so great that a new organisation has come into formation.

TWIG_Logo_OPT

The teeth whitening information group (TWIG) is a group of dental professionals and manufacturers who are concerned about the problem of harmful, illegal products and unqualified people carrying out teeth whitening. They offer a useful information leaflet and a facility to report any illegal teeth whitening happening around Harrow area and beyond.

If you notice any non-dental professional offering teeth whitening please do contact TWIG 

So, what do you do if you want safe teeth whitening?

The only way to know for sure that you will be safe during teeth whitening is to visit a dentist. This dental professional will have a detailed understanding of your oral health and be able to advise if teeth whitening is suitable for you. Unfortunately it’s not always that simple this article in the mail online talks about how one patient spent £600 on teeth whitening and saw no result at all, and that was with a dentist. Results can vary and can never be 100% guaranteed so we recommend asking any dentist that you go to see for before and after photographs of happy patients.

You also need to feel that you can trust your dentist, so ask them about the risks, discuss with them the possibility that the whitening may not work and what would happen then. Being open and honest with your dentist before any treatment is the best way to ensure that you get the excellent teeth whitening result that you will be looking for.

Summary

Having said all of that teeth whitening remains one of the easiest ways to look and feel more confident with your smile. It is generally available to anyone with a healthy dentition and with all of their own teeth (if you have crowns, veneers or white fillings then these will not whiten so you will need to discuss with your dentist the possibility of having them replaced after your natural teeth have been bleached).

When carried out by dental professional it is also one of the most predictable and safe techniques available in modern dentistry, you will find that many dentists have had their own teeth whitening in their own practice, and that says a lot in itself about how good the procedure can be when carried out by a dental professional…

 


7 Good Reasons to Look After Your Dental Health Including Erectile Dysfunction!

20th September, 2013

the effects of poor dental hygiene on your bodyPoor oral hygiene can affect your whole body, from your heart to your lungs to even your genitals! Take a look at the diagram above and then read on to find out what the likely results of poor hygiene are on your body. Perhaps you should think now about looking after your teeth and gums?

Halitosis

Lack of regular brushing and flossing leaves small food particles wedged between the teeth that collect bacteria and emit chemicals like hydrogen sulphide, the same compound that gives rotten eggs at their characteristic smell.

Periodontal disease.

Bone deterioration around the teeth leads to loosening and eventual tooth loss. 25% of adults in America over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth!

Atherosclerosis.

High levels of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth can lead to clogging of the carotid artery and increased risk of stroke.

Heart disease.

People with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease and arterial narrowing as a result of periodontal bacteria and plaque entering the bloodstream through the gums. In fact, one study found that the presence of gum disease, cavities and missing teeth are as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

Respiratory problems.

Bacteria from periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream to the lungs where it can aggravate respiratory systems, especially in patients who already have respiratory problems.

Diabetes.

95% of adults in America with diabetes also have periodontal disease and one third have advanced periodontal disease that has led to tooth loss.

Erectile dysfunction (yes, we thought that might get your attention).

Periodontal bacteria can travel through the bloodstream inflaming blood vessels and blocking blood flow to the genitals. In fact men with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with good dental hygiene.

So there you have it, seven good reasons to look after your dental health… And one extremely good reason for men!

 

 


How to prevent gum disease – part 2

6th September, 2013

Last week on 30 August we posted the first of our two-part article about the prevention of gum disease, we talked about the risks of gingivitis and periodontitis and explained some of the symptoms of both of these conditions. In this second blog post we talk in more detail about the treatment of both gingivitis and periodontitis. Read the first blog post by clicking here.

Treating gum disease

The best way to treat all gum disease is to practise good oral hygiene, lower your stress levels and improve diet. Visit your dentist or hygienist for treatment.

Good oral hygiene involves:

  • Brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes twice a day
  • Using an electric toothbrush
  • Using toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Flossing your teeth regularly
  • Not smoking

Mouthwash

Your dentist or hygienist may recommend using an antiseptic mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine.

Antibiotics

On their own, antibiotics are not effective at treating periodontitis, and they may only be recommended in severe cases of gum disease. Metronidazole and Amoxicillin are the most common antibiotics prescribed. Your dentist will advise you accordingly if required.

Dental Treatments

The following dental treatments may be recommended to treat gum disease and periodontitis.

Scale and polish

To remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that can build up on your teeth. This is a “professional clean” carried out by your dentist or hygienist.

Root Surface Debridement

In some cases of gum disease or periodontitis, root surface debridement may be required. This will involve several visits. It is a ‘deep clean’ under the gums removing the plaque and tartar deposits and bacteria from the roots of your teeth and the pockets.

Before having the treatment, you may need to have an anaesthetic to numb the area. You may experience some sensitivity after the procedure.

Further treatment

If you have severe gum disease or advanced periodontitis, you may need further treatment which requires a referral to a periodontist (gum specialist) who can carry out advanced treatments such as periodontal surgery.
However in some cases, it may be necessary to remove the infected tooth.

It is important to visit your dentist and hygienist at least every six months so any problems with teeth and gums can be detected and treated early.

If you have had problems with gum disease and periodontitis in the past, or you have increased risk of developing gum problems, for example, if you smoke or have diabetes, you may be advised to visit your dentist and hygienist more frequently so your teeth and gums can be closely monitored


How to Prevent Gum Disease

23rd August, 2013

By failing to look after your gums you increase the risk of the gums becoming inflamed and turning into gingivitis. If this is left untreated it can progress into the more serious condition periodontitis which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Not only is this unattractive but it can be costly to replace missing teeth, and so we recommend that you do everything you can to look after your teeth and gums.

In this series of two blog posts we will look at gingivitis and periodontitis, what causes these conditions, how you can spot them and then in the second blog post we will look at the treatments on offer.

Gum disease and gingivitis

tooth-diagramGum disease, which includes periodontal disease, is inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone). Gum disease affects more than half of the adult population with natural teeth. It can be treated by a dentist or hygienist and in the early stages the effects can be reversed. There are two main types of gum disease:

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is due to the long term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen and tender. You may notice bleeding on brushing or a bad taste in the mouth.

Risks for gingivitis

  1. Certain infections and systemic diseases
  2. Poor dental hygiene, stress and smoking
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Uncontrolled diabetes
  5. Misaligned teeth, rough edges of filling, ill- fitting mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges and crowns)
  6. Use of certain medications

Symptoms of gingivitis

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red or purple appearance to gums
  • Tender and swollen gums
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Shiny appearance to gums

Periodontitis occurs when inflammation or infection of the gums (gingivitis) is untreated or treatment delayed. Infection and inflammation spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. Loss of support causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Plaque and tartar build up at the base of the teeth.

Inflammation causes a pocket to develop between the gums and the teeth, which fills with plaque and tartar. Soft tissue swelling traps the plaque in the pocket. Continued inflammation leads to damage of the tissues and bone surrounding the tooth. Because plaque contains bacteria, infection is likely and a tooth abscess may develop, which increases the rate of bone destruction and may lead to eventual tooth loss.

Risks for periodontitis

  1. Genetics i.e family history
  2. Diabetes
  3. Poor nutrition, smoking and stress
  4. Pregnancy-may lead to delivery of pre-term babies
  5. HIV and associated infections
  6. Rheumatoid arthritis
  7. Clenching/grinding teeth
  8. Some medications
  9. Cardiovascular disease

Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. This type of heart disease occurs when plaque (deposits of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other material) form in the walls of the coronary arteries causing the walls to become thicker. This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for proper heart function.

Bacteria from gum disease enters the bloodstream and connects to the plaque in the coronary arteries, possibly contributing to the formation of blood clots.

Watch out for the second post in this series which talks about the treatments for both gingivitis and periodontitis, this will be posted on this blog on Friday, 6th September.