Gum Disease

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The Chief Dental Officer (CDO MARCH 2020) has released a statement :

ALL DENTAL PRACTICES IN THE UK HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO:

  • Cease all care of anyone who is classed as non urgent and stop all procedures that generate aerosols.
  • Dental Practices - the staff are at high risk of contracting the virus from the public and should only offer a dental service if they have the resources and the PPE.

At Hoddesdon Dental Surgery, until further notice, we will be stopping ALL Dental Care - from WEDNESDAY THIS WEEK (25th March 2020).

We strongly advise patients to avoid seeking dental assistance until the virus has been controlled and practice self isolation for their own and others safety.

IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FOR EXAMPLE : then wait until the dental practice reopens :

Routine care such as a dental check up and hygiene treatment 

Fillings and other treatments that are not urgent .

  • Mild or moderate pain: that is, pain not associated with an urgent care condition and that responds to pain-relief measures
  • Minor dental trauma
  • Post-extraction bleeding that the patient is able to control using self-help measures
  • Loose or displaced crowns, bridges or veneers
  • Fractured or loose-fitting dentures and other appliances
  • Fractured posts
  • Fractured, loose or displaced fillings
  • Treatments normally associated with routine dental care
  • Bleeding gums
  • ORTHODONTICS/ INVISALIGN OR COSMETIC OR IMPLANT WORK

WHAT IS CLASSED AS A DENTAL EMERGENCY?

Dental emergencies include:

  • Trauma including facial/oral laceration and/or dentoalveolar injuries, for example avulsion of a permanent tooth
  • Oro-facial swelling that is significant and worsening
  • Post-extraction bleeding that the patient is not able to control with local measures
  • Dental conditions that have resulted in acute systemic illness or raised temperature as a result of dental infection
  • Severe trismus
  • Oro-dental conditions that are likely to exacerbate systemic medical conditions such as diabetes (that is lead to acute decompensation of medical conditions such as diabetes)

PLEASE NOTE – YOU WlLL NOT BE SEEN BY THE EMERGENCY DENTAL SERVICE OR BY OUR DENTAL STAFF AT HODDESDON DENTAL SURGERY IF YOU DO NOT FALL INTO THESE CATEGORIES.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU DO FALL INTO A DENTAL EMERGENCY CATEGORY THAT CAN NOT WAIT : 

  • Contact the practice on 01992 462 043

We are running a phone triage system and will have to filter those that we can and cannot see.

  • Contact NHS 111 services if you cannot wait for the practice to get back to you.

(it may take upto 48 hours for us to get back to you as we will be dealing with other emergencies)

NO HIGH RISK PATIENT WILL BE SEEN AT HODDESDON DENTAL SURGERY: 

  • All high risk or infected patients can find out the local high risk dental centre by calling NHS 111 (where special facilities have been set up)

What is gum disease?  

Screening for gum disease forms an integral part of your routine examination.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal or gum disease is an infection affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. These tissues include the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease is usually a slow, painless, progressive condition. Most adults with this disease are unaware they have it but if diagnosed and treated early the teeth can be saved.

In it’s early stages it affects the gum only and is called gingivitis. Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

This is reversible but if it progresses it begins to attack the bone which holds the tooth in it’s socket and is called periodontitis. This can be treated to stop further bone loss but if left untreated can result in loss of the tooth.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

Causes of gum disease

  • Plaque
    All gum disease is caused by plaque. This is a white mass of bacteria which adheres to teeth, crowns, bridges, dentures and soft tissues. When plaque is not removed it irritates the gums causing them to become red, tender and bleed easily. Over time it hardens and is then known as tartar which requires removal by professional intervention. The constant irritation from tartar results in gums becoming detached from the roots allowing ‘pockets’ to form around the teeth. Bacteria in these pockets begin to destroy bone that holds the tooth in place which may result in the tooth becoming loose and eventually lost.
  • Smoking
    Smoking is another risk factor that increases the risk of gum disease.

    Smoking has many affects on oral health. It can cause an increase in plaque and tartar and cause staining. Smoking reduces the blood flow to the gums hence destroying all the supportive structures. This can lead to the gums receding, tooth movement and tooth loss.  Smoking will also cause furring of the tongue, increasing bad breadth. 

 

There are also a number of other host factors that can worsen periodontal disease such as diabetes mellitus, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. The underlying cause is still plaque but these conditions can worsen your periodontal condition.

Management of gum disease