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If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, you may be a little shocked, surprised or even scared about how it happened and what you need to do. The truth is that we’re taught from an early age to look after our teeth and how to care for them but less so about our gums. Yet, gum disease can have a significant effect not just on our ongoing oral health but our overall health too. For these reasons understanding how to get rid of gum disease and why you really should, is vital.

So let’s start with the basics…


What is gum disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is in essence an infection of the gum that holds a tooth in place. It’s typically caused by poor or ineffective brushing and flossing habits which, in turn, allow bacteria to take hold. As it does, it attacks the gums causing them to become swollen and red resulting in visible signs of blood when brushing.

Understandably, nobody likes to be told that they don’t care for their teeth and gums correctly but almost all of us will suffer from gum disease at some time in our lives. The key is catching it early and doing something about it. 


The stages of gum disease

To understand how to get rid of gum disease you first need to understand the stages. During the earliest stages, for example, (known as gingivitis) a patient may notice a little blood when they brush their teeth. Alternatively, they may notice that their gums are darker than normal or that they feel a little tender. 

treatments how to get rid of gum disease west rydeThe good news is that gingivitis is easily reversible and typically involves a scale and polish by your chosen dentist or hygienist to remove any hardened plaque (known as tartar) that has built up on the surface near the base of the tooth. Then, in some cases, a course of antibiotics is required to bring down any swelling or tenderness. After this, your gums should return to normal.

Typically, however, patients don’t feel any discomfort when they have gingivitis so they may consider ignoring the problem hoping that it might go away. Unfortunately, gingivitis does not cure itself and if left, it can turn into something considerably worse…


Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease (also known as advanced gum disease) occurs when the bacteria that live in plaque is allowed to continue attacking the gums. Over time, gums can become swollen, tender and painful to brush. Moreover, if left, periodontal disease can cause teeth to become loose.

Symptoms of periodontal disease can include

  • Tender or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Gums that are bright red or purplish– healthy gums should be pink


How to get rid of periodontal (gum) disease?

Even when gum disease gets to this stage, there are non-surgical and surgical treatments that a dentist or hygienist can perform to help you regain optimal gum health. Treatments that include:


Scaling and root planing

This non-surgical procedure involves a deep cleaning below the gum line. When periodontal disease takes hold it can cause the gums that support the teeth to loosen. As they do, a pocket forms which in turn can house further bacteria.

Deep scaling involves removing any bacteria from below the gum line including inside the gum pocket and once clear, the tooth root is smoothed using a specialised scaling tool. This creates a smooth surface for the gum to stick to. Your dentist may also issue a course of oral antibiotics to help the gum area heal faster.


Pocket Reduction Procedure

If you have a more advanced periodontal disease, then even after scaling and planing, the gum may not fit snugly around the tooth. Ultimately, it may be impossible to keep these pockets free from bacteria. If this is the case, then you might be a candidate for a pocket reduction procedure.  

Otherwise known as flap surgery, the gum tissue is folded back and gently cleaned. Once free from bacteria, it’s reattached surgically to the tooth root.


Gum grafting

Finally, if you have weakened or exposed tooth roots due to gum recession (a major symptom of advanced gum disease) then a surgical gum graft can help to rebuild the gum around the tooth root to protect and support it. 

As you can see, understanding how to get rid of gum disease ties in with the degree of periodontal (gum) disease you currently have. Naturally, the earlier it’s identified and dealt with, the easier and cheaper your treatment will be. Alternatively, the longer gum disease goes ignored, the more damage it causes and the harder it is to treat.

For these reasons, here at myDentist West Ryde, we recommend that patients visit us regularly for general check-ups where our highly experienced team practice caring and gentle preventative dentistry. 

Are you overdue a dental check-up or feel that you need to address your gum disease problems before they escalate further?

Call Dr Suh and the team of myDentist West Ryde on (02) 8073 9338 and take back control of your oral health today! 



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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