In a mouth that is not kept clean by regular oral hygiene practice, a thin, soft, sticky colorless layer is constantly formed on the surface of teeth and it is called dental plaque. Dental plaque is just layers of growing mass of various types of bacteria that are present in the mouth. Dental plaque in small quantities is almost invisible, but in large quantities it can be felt with a tongue as a fuzzy unclean coating.
If plaque is not completely removed everyday by tooth brushing and flossing, the remaining plaque becomes a stony crust called Calculus/Tartar. Calculus clings to the teeth with such force that only a dentist or a hygienist with the help of special instruments can remove it.
As mentioned earlier there is a shallow ditch like space that separates the margin of the normal gums from the tooth surface. The depth of this space ranges from 0-2mm and is called gingival sulcus. As gum disease progresses the gum margin becomes detached from the tooth surface and the sulcus becomes progressively deeper. This sulcus that has been deepened by disease is called periodontal pocket. It is one of the places that a dentist will carefully examine to detect the presence of gum disease. In the early stages there are usually no symptoms and patients are unaware of the progressing disease, but as the inflammation spreads there is bleeding from the pockets
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Some common features associated with gingivitis are red and swollen gums, and the presence of bleeding while brushing and flossing. The cause of gingivitis is the bacteria in dental plaque. This disease is reversible with good oral hygiene practices.
Hard tooth brush or/and excessive brushing force frequently causes the gums to recede, leading to exposure of root surface and sensitiveness of the teeth.
Teeth are held firmly by the gingiva and the supporting bone of the periodontium. Bad oral hygiene results in the formation of plaque. If plaque is not removed in time it calcifies to form a hard mass called tartar/calculus. Professional cleaning removes this tartar and arrest further destruction of supporting bone. However, tartar deposit often holds together teeth that have already been weakened by chronic gum disease and mask existing tooth mobility. Therefore, removal of the tartar deposit at this stage may give a false feeling of teeth becoming loose. Nevertheless removal of tartar deposit is only the first step towards periodontal health.
Several non-surgical techniques are available for treating periodontal conditions, and the technique chosen will depend on the extent of damage that the disease has caused to the periodontium. The Dentist evaluates the condition of the periodontium and removes all the plaque and tartar deposits. In addition to this, he also uses various antiseptics and antibiotics that are specifically meant for treating periodontal disease. If this treatment also fails to completely resolve the disease, he will have to resort to periodontal surgery.
Treatment of gum disease whether by surgical or non-surgical means only takes care of the existing problem. If proper maintenance therapy is not given by the dentist or if patient does maintain good oral hygiene, the gum disease will certainly recur. Click for Animation (Use FLV Titled Periodontal Disease Treatment)
Sometimes prolonged infection of the gums spreads to the tooth through the root apex into the pulp tissue of the tooth leading to death of the tooth itself. Such tooth requires both root canal and periodontal treatment. Why does the tooth look longer after surgical gum treatment? Gum disease left untreated for a long time leads to loss of supporting bone around the roots of the teeth. The lost bone is replaced by unhealthy soft granulation tissue, which although it does not reduce the mobility of the teeth keeps the gum margin at almost the normal level. During surgical gum treatment the unhealthy granulation tissue is removed that results in the collapse of the gum tissues into the spaces left behind by the granulation tissues. As a result the gums recede and make the teeth appear longer
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