Periodontology is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diseases of the soft (periodontalligament, gum) and hard tissues (bone, cementum) that surround the teeth and provide attachment to the teeth, and their treatment. The care of this connective tissue, which surrounds the teeth, provides nutrition, covers the jawbone and ensures that the teeth are fully held in the jaw, is at least as important as the teeth. Periodontal diseases that are not treated timely and correctly may cause tooth loss and even the emergence of some systemic diseases.
Characteristics of Healthy Gums
- Gum bleeding never occurs during brushing.
- It is pale pink in color, matte and has a firm consistency.
- It surrounds the tooth like a collar in the neck region of the tooth, and ends in a knife-edge shape where it meets the tooth.
- There is a distance of approximately 1-1.5 mm between it and the tooth.
Causes of Gum Disease
• Inadequate Oral Hygiene: People’s lack of regular tooth brushing habits or not brushing correctly directly threatens oral hygiene. Lack of hygiene causes bacterial plaques and inflammatory diseases. Gum recession and patients ignoring bleeding gums while brushing can make the situation worse. Untreated cavities can also lead to bleeding gums and gum disease.
• Genetics: Genetic characteristics have been identified in a significant portion of gum diseases. If there are people in your family with gum disease, you can take precautions against this disease thanks to regular dentist visits and check-ups.
• Smoking: Smoking, which is the number one enemy of oral and dental health, is one of the most important factors that accelerate the course and development of gum diseases, in addition to its many harms.
• Hormonal Changes: During periods of hormonal changes such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, bleeding and sensitivity occur in women’s gums and their susceptibility to disease increases. During such periods, regular dentist visits, protective preventive practices and periodic maintenance are important.
• Poor and Irregular Nutrition: Since poor and irregular nutrition reduces the body’s resistance, it also invites gum bleeding and diseases, like many other diseases. As the immune system weakens, the risk of gum infection increases.
• Medication use: Birth control pills (oral contraceptives), anti-depressants and some heart medications can negatively affect oral and dental health, increase sensitivity, and can damage the gums. When using such drugs, it is important that the relevant doctor, dentist and pharmacist are informed about the issue and reach a consensus.
• Stress: Stress, which has been proven to be the predisposing cause of many diseases, is also an important risk factor for gum diseases. Stress disrupts the body’s immune system and paves the way for periodontal disease.
• Teeth grinding: Teeth grinding and jaw clenching damage the tissues that support the teeth and accelerate tissue destruction.
• Diabetes: Diabetic patients are prone to infection and therefore gum disease. In diabetic patients, infections may be predisposing to periodontal disease or may accelerate the course of an already existing gum disease.
• Other systemic diseases: Any disease that disrupts the body’s immune system also affects the condition of the gums. Some diseases that affect the general health of the person, such as heart, blood pressure, atherosclerosis, kidney diseases, AIDS and tuberculosis, can also directly lead to gum bleeding and diseases.
General Symptoms of Gum Diseases
- Bleeding gums (during tooth brushing or sudden),
- Gum recession or loosening of the gum that can be easily separated from the tooth,
- Melting of the jaw bone that supports the teeth along with gum recession,
- Burning, swelling, redness and color change in the gums,
- Inflammatory discharge between teeth and gums,
- Constant bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth,
- Poor fit of the partial denture
- Teeth loosening or moving further away from each other (gaps forming between teeth or existing gaps increasing)
- Itching of gums, desire to itch.
Gum Disease Treatments
- The treatment process of gum diseases should proceed in the form of diagnosis, treatment and regular check-ups.
- Oral and dental health knowledge and oral hygiene education are very important.
- Cleaning of dental tartar and food plaque.
- If the dentist deems it necessary, deep cleaning is performed in the gum pockets. (This procedure is called curettage)
- Drug treatments recommended by the dentist should be applied along with cleaning and curettage.
- If the disease is advanced, periodontal surgical procedures (gum surgeries) should be performed. In cases such as gum recession and bone loss, surgery may be required to protect against the disease and prevent its reoccurrence.
- While these surgical and clinical treatments can be performed with classical methods, some of them can be performed with laser applications if deemed appropriate and recommended by the physician. Laser applications have been applied intensively and successfully in gum diseases in recent years.