The occasional speck of blood that can be seen when cleaning your teeth may not necessarily be anything to be concerned about and may simply have resulted from catching the gums with the toothbrush. However, if this happens with any pattern of regularity, it is worthwhile having this checked with your dentist as bleeding gums are often an early sign of gum diseases such as gingivitis.
Most dental practices now have specialist periodontists who will examine your gums and advise whether the bleeding is caused by gum disease or not. If it proves to be the case, the most likely solution is an improvement in the way that you take care of your oral health. This is usually relatively straightforward and may just be a case of buying a new toothbrush and learning to floss correctly. With gum disease affecting approximately half of the population at any one time, it can be taken that in most cases; it is caught quickly and treated in this manner. If it is left to deteriorate before any action is taken however, then the treatment becomes more invasive.
Periodontic Treatment for Gum Disease
The most likely treatment for gum disease is a ‘scrape and polish’. This involves the periodontist scraping away the plaque that has built up on the teeth. This is usually done with a local anaesthetic as whilst not painful, it is not a particularly pleasant experience. If left to advance too far though, it may be necessary to do this at the root level of the tooth which is significantly more painful.
If the disease becomes very advanced and evolves into periodontitis, the likelihood is that some teeth will need to be removed. This is because periodontitis causes the tissues that hold the teeth in places to come away, accelerating the bacterial growth. It may also lead to decay of the jawbone, all of which is likely to result in the need to remove teeth leaving the patient with the difficult choice of whether to replace these with expensive dental implants or traditional dentures.
As can be seen then, gum disease need be no more than a minor irritant provided that action is taken quickly and promptly but if left can turn into something far more significant. In fact, research has started to indicate that gum disease may even be a precursor to heart disease, another important reason to treat it promptly.
The most likely people to neglect gum disease in its early stages are those who are afraid of visiting the dentist. It appears that even the fear of having major dental surgery later on does not deter them from simply putting their head into the sand. Thankfully, most dentists are now better at dealing with nervous patients and can even administer conscious sedation to help the patient to fully relax whilst remaining fully conscious.
Dental care is unfortunately often neglected but takes little of our time. Simply by visiting our local dentist, we can ensure that we nip any dental problems in the bud early on.