Most Australians would have experienced gingivitis at some stage in their life. Gingivitis is early stage gum disease, and is reversible. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque, which is a sticky white film full of bacteria, that constantly forms on your teeth along the gum line. Plaque, if not removed, hardens and turns into tartar which can only be removed using specialised instruments at the dentist office.
Signs of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Treatment involves effective removal of plaque around the teeth and gums. This can be achieved at home by brushing and flossing, as well as a professional clean at your dentist every 6 months. By scheduling regular 6 monthly check and professional cleans early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition
Dental practitioners may use an ultrasonic scaling device to remove plaque, tartar and food debris above and below the gum line, and hand scalers on the tooth and root surfaces to make them smooth
Periodontitis is advanced stage gum disease and involves irreversible damage to the bone supporting the teeth. Teeth may become loose and then consequently be lost. Signs of periodontitis may include loose teeth and receded gums in addition to gingivitis symptoms. More extensive treatment at your dentist is required to prevent further loss of bone and stabilise the gums.