Having healthy gums is important in making sure your teeth last a lifetime. However, if gum disease develops, the gums can deteriorate resulting in swelling, soreness or infection of the gum tissues  supporting the teeth. Gum disease is a common condition categorised in two main forms : gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Meet Joanne Poole, our Dental Hygienist

Our Dental Hygienist Joanne Poole has been practising for over 20 years since graduating in 1994 and works with us here on a part-time basis.

Joanne has a particular interest in working alongside maxillofacial surgeons in the hospital, supporting patients who have had major procedures and need help to maintain their oral health whilst recovering. As a result Joanne has worked with many different dental specialists and has extensive experience working in the hospital setting.

At 44 Dental, as well as carrying out the routine procedures such as cleaning, treating gum disease, and oral health education, Joanne also works closely with Dr JJ Khamis, our specialist prosthodontist, to help prepare patients with oral health instructions before their dental implant procedures.

“Patients tell us that Joanne is very gentle and also has a great sense of humour, so you have no need to dread your next visit! As you can tell, we’re glad to have Joanne on board to help us deliver the highest standards of oral dental care.”

Why visit Joanne?

Visiting your new dental hygienist at 44 Dental is just as important as regular check-ups because we can only build the smile you’ve always wanted on good foundations. Joanne plays an important role working to maintain healthy teeth and gums by removing the plaque and tartar which helps prevent problems such as gum disease and decay.

Alongside thorough cleaning, Joanne will do a gum assessment, spend time giving you advice on the best way to manage your oral health and show you the tools needed in order to do so. Advice is given on diet too, as changes may be needed to prevent tooth decay or erosion. Help can also be provided on ways to try and stop smoking if necessary. In addition, Joanne can remove any staining you may have from tea, coffee, red wine, or smoking by polishing each tooth, leaving your mouth not just feeling but looking fresh and clean.

How often should I visit my dental hygienist?

We always encourage regular hygiene visits because we prefer to prevent problems before they arise. The initial gum assessment will help Joanne determine how often your visits will need to be. Appointments can range from making a visit every 6 months to visiting Joanne every month.

Remember though, how much time you spend on your oral hygiene at home can have a great effect and reduce the time needed between visits. Gum disease is completely preventable if you visit us regularly and keep a good home care routine.

gumsWhat is gingivitis?

Gingivitis basically means means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Patients will often notice that the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

What is periodontal disease?

If gingivitis has been present for a long time then this can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the bone which supports  the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. Eventually infection seeps into the deeper structures surrounding the teeth.  If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?

Probably. Gum disease is very common and most people suffer from the disease at some time of their lives. Periodontal disease is the most common reason people lose their teeth as adults.. The disease spreads very slowly in most patients and patients can have the problem for a long time without knowing it exists. However if diagnosed correctly by a dentist and if treated in time the disease can be slowed down. In combination with regular maintenance visits, daily home care and an effective oral health regime  your teeth should last for life.

What is the cause of gum disease?

The main cause of gum disease is the build up of plaque. Plaque is composed of bacteria which  forms on the surfaces of the teeth every day. There are some bacteria within the plaque which can cause gum disease. To prevent gum disease it is therefore very important that the plaque is removed on  regular basis by regular flossing and brushing,

Can gum disease affect my general health?

There is growing  evidence to suggest that gum disease may be linked to heart disease. By preventing gum disease not only will you keep your teeth for life, but you will also be at a decreased risk of having problems associated with the heart in your adult life.

Is smoking linked to gum disease?

There is a strong connection between patients who smoke losing their teeth through gum disease at an earlier stage of their lives. The gums in smokers do not receive an adequate amount of oxygen and hence the gums fail to heal if plaque builds up.   The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and this also leads gum disease spreading more rapidly in smokers than in non smokers.

What happens if gum disease is not treated?

Gum disease spreads slowly and painlessly and most patients do not notice the damage it is doing until it is too late. Sometimes, bacteria may make the gums sore and cause infections and pus to ooze from the gum pockets. A gum abscess can be painful and cause swelling. If not treated eventually the teeth become loose as the supporting tissues weaken. The longer the condition is left untreated the more difficult it is to treat the problem. Eventually the teeth have to be extracted or they may drop out

How do I know if I have gum disease and how is it treated?

The signs for gum disease are:

  1. Gums bleeding when brushing or rinsing.
  2. Gums bleeding on eating.
  3. Bad breath.
  4. Redness and swelling of gums – not necessarily painful.

If you notice any of the above then you should arrange a visit to 44 dental care so we can examine your teeth and gums and advise on the most appropriate treatment.

Usually the treatment involves an initial appointment of scaling to remove all the deposits of plaque around the gum tissues. Initially it may take a few visits to thoroughly remove all plaque deposits. If you feel you have sensitive teeth then sometimes we can use local anaesthetic to numb the gums before treatment.

To prevent the disease from coming back

  1. Attend 44 Dental care regularly to for maintenance appointments.
  2. Regularly brush and floss your teeth.
  3. Use an appropriate mouthwash as advised by your dentists.