First things first, let’s start with the bad news. The fact is that most of us have gum disease. A lot of people look surprised when their dentist tells them that. However, gum disease is usually caused by the build-up of plaque and plaque, unfortunately, builds up at a constant rate. So to some extent, gum disease – even in a fairly mild form – is inevitable.
The second part of the bad news is that gum disease, as well as being inevitable, is also incurable. Most of us suffer from gum disease and, as we grow older, it is more than likely going to get worse. In fact, gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. That means it is even more dangerous to the health of our teeth than tooth decay. .
There are two types of gum disease. But before we look at those, let’s learn a little bit more about plaque. Plaque is essentially the name given to all the debris that gathers on and around our teeth during a normal day. Bits of food get caught in our teeth after meals and if you don’t clean them away regularly, these bits of food attract bacteria. It is this bacteria that can lead to decay, halitosis and gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the first form of gum disease. If plaque is allowed to build-up without being removed, it hardens into calculus and this can begin, over time, to irritate your gums. The gums become tender and inflamed, and you may notice some spots of blood on your toothbrush when you clean your teeth.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and its development can be arrested. If you have the symptoms mentioned above, you should contact your dentist. A thorough scale and polish by a hygienist will help to remove the calculus and stop your gums from being irritated and damaged by bacteria.
If plaque is allowed to build-up on your teeth unchecked, it can turn into gingivitis. If gingivitis is not treated, then it can develop into periodontitis. This is the second form of gum disease and it is more serious than gingivitis. It usually means that the gum disease has spread from the gums and attached the bone around the roots of the teeth. In some advanced cases, this may already have caused the teeth to become loose.
The solution to periodontitis is a much deeper clean of your teeth, which is usually done under local anaesthetic. This allows your dentist to clean deeply around the roots of the teeth and into the areas where the gums have receded and allowed plaque to collect. This type of clean can take a couple of appointments to complete effectively. In very advanced cases, your dentist make have to cut and lift the gums away to clean effectively around the base of the teeth, that stitch the gums back into place.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment has got a bad reputation. It has become widely thought of as one of the most painful types of dental treatments that a patient can go through.
Root canal treatment is also called endodontics. Root canal treatment is required when tooth decay has broken through the outer enamel and dentin and infected the heart of the tooth.
The aim of your dentist should always be to try and save your natural teeth and avoid extractions. The reason for this is because removing natural teeth leaves gaps which the cause the other teeth to compensate. It can therefore affect your bite and then cause a host of other affiliated problems.
But what happens when a tooth has become infected right in the centre? Surely there is no avoiding an extraction, as the pulp is infected. Essentially, this means that the nerves at the heart of the tooth are slowing dying. Not to mention the fact that you will probably also be experiencing great pain.
Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that most people just want a quick fix – extraction! However, while extraction may remove the offending tooth, it is not the best option in the long term. Therefore, the majority of dentists will prefer to try root canal surgery first. This way, the infection can be cleared and the tooth can be kept in place. This is done under local aneasthetic.
Following root canal therapy, our dentist restores the form and function of treated teeth with a post filling and then a crown in a few months.
A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions, and most can be done under a local anesthetic.. In a simple extraction, the dentist will grasp the tooth with forceps and move the forceps back and forth to loosen the tooth before removing it. Sometimes, an instrument called a luxator, which fits between the tooth and the gum, is used to help loosen the tooth. A surgical extraction involves teeth that cannot be seen easily in the mouth, either because they have broken off at the gum line or because they have not come in yet. Another reason for a surgical extraction is that the tooth to be removed requires a flap be cut in the gum for access to remove bone or section of tooth
When your wisdom teeth emerge, it can be painful. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who do not feel any pain whatsoever! So why does wisdom tooth pain only affect certain people? What causes the pain? If your dentist says you need your wisdom teeth extracted, what can you expect?
Our wisdom teeth are the last of our adult teeth to emerge and they usually start to come through in our early or mid-twenties. They are large molars that are positioned at the back of the mouth, at both the top and the bottom. Therefore, you could have up to four wisdom teeth emerging.
When wisdom teeth become impacted, they make the jaw feel swollen and tender; to ache; and to be painful to the touch. It can be painful to eat and drink, while on occasions the damaged wisdom tooth can also become infected. If you visit your dentist regularly, they will monitor the growth of your wisdom teeth over a period of time by taking x-rays. Therefore, any corrective treatment can be completed before the pain is noticeable
Wisdom teeth extractions are usually performed under sedation or under local anaesthetic. If the extraction is relatively simple and can be done in your dental practice (rather than in surgery), your dentist may be able to extract the tooth under a local anaesthetic.
Surgery is required because the impacted wisdom tooth is still trapped below the gum line. Therefore, the dental surgeon will need to cut through and lift away the gum, and in some cases cut away some of the jaw bone to reach and remove the tooth.
Most wisdom tooth extractions are performed in a single day. If the surgery is performed under sedation, it is important that you have a friend or relative there with you. They will need to drive you home after the operation and to remain with you for 24 hours, as you will remain tired and disorientated for a period of time afterwards.
Wisdom teeth removals are very common and a routine procedure. After the operation, however, you may still feel some pain in your jaw and there may be some bruising. Over the counter painkillers from your local chemist are the best way to treat this and the bruising should disappear gradually over the next fortnight.
Having a wisdom tooth removed can also affect your ability to eat certain foods directly after the operation. You must be careful not to damage the stitches in your gum. Therefore, your dentist will probably recommend that you stick to softer foods and liquids for the first couple of days. You must also minimise the risk of the operation area becoming infected – therefore, smoking and drinking alcohol are also inadvisable.
Maintaining a good standard of oral hygiene is vital to ensuring that the extraction area does not become infected. You must continue to brush your teeth as normal, although for the first few days you must avoid directly brushing the site where the wisdom tooth was removed. Your dentist may recommend using a mouthwash to compensate for this, which will help to keep your mouth clean without being as abrasive as brushing.