Nobody likes to have any dental problems – they can be painful, stubborn, and in some cases very expensive to deal with. The health of our teeth and gums is important not only for the sake of vanity and confidence but also for general health. Left untreated, oral and gum disease can cause serious health complications. Fortunately, there are many great specialists in Singapore who can help you with oral and gum disease. In this article, we’re going to talk about gingivitis and periodontal disease and everything you need to know about it in Singapore – from what it is to the costs and available treatments. We hope this article will give you the information you need!
What is gingivitis?
You've probably heard of gingivitis, but there are lots of things you can learn about it. It is common and a lot of people develop gum disease.
Gingivitis is maybe better known as gum infection. It's actually inflamed gums caused by plaque build-up on the teeth themselves. This disease is most common in adults, but people suffering from diabetes, children, and pregnant women are also prone to it1. Gingivitis is the body's natural response to irritation from bacteria in the mouth. It presents with symptoms such as bleeding gums and it shouldn't be neglected. But although it’s common, it’s important that you take your symptoms seriously. If left untreated, gum diseases can develop into periodontitis and may lead to gingival hyperplasia (when your gum overgrows around the teeth), tooth loss, and even bone loss, often caused by the immune response to the unhealthy bacteria2.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
Gum infection usually shows up with the following symptoms:
- Swelling of the gums
- Bad breath
- Gum abscesses
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red or purple gums
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should go for a dental check-up.
What causes gingivitis?
The main reason for the development of gum disease is poor oral hygiene3. Sometimes we can’t reach and wash every part of our mouth. That causes bacteria to retain more easily in the mouth and around the teeth. The bacteria can then penetrate under the gums and cause bad breath and irritation of the gum tissue and ultimately cause gingivitis. There are several steps in the development of gingivitis:
- When Plaque forms: If the teeth are not cleaned properly you’ll notice that a whitish sticky film forms on your teeth.
- The plaque turns harder(also called tartar): The plaque that’s not removed from the teeth can harden under your gums. This will cause irritation to your gums.
- Gingivitis: When the hardened plaque stays longer on the teeth it can cause inflammation on the gingiva. If you don’t treat the irritation, it may cause tooth decay and tooth loss.
Other risk factors that cause gum disease are excessive sugar intake, smoking, health problems such as diabetes, crooked teeth, or immune system problems.
Types of Gingivitis
You may not know but there are several types of gum disease4. They present in a similar way but they may have different causes and different ways to treat them. Here are some of them:
- Plaque-induced: This type of gum disease is caused mainly by plaque build-up.
- Non-plaque induced: This type of gum disease can be caused by a specific bacteria or a virus, genetics, health conditions, or foreign bodies such as implants. There’s also a type of gum disease called ‘implant gingivitis’ caused by inflammation surrounding the implant.
- Chronic Gingivitis: This is a persistent inflammation of the gums.
Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease can develop into early periodontitis (stage 2 gingivitis) and periodontitis (the last stage) if left untreated. Periodontitis is a serious condition that needs medical attention. It can cause gum recession, and ultimately teeth loss.
How is gingivitis treated and cured?
Gingivitis can be treated successfully if caught in time. The gum treatment plan usually depends on the severity and stage of the disease. Some patients even opt for gingivitis remedies such as antibacterial toothpaste for gingivitis or natural remedies. For mild cases, you can easily treat it in the dentists' office. There are various ways to treat gum disease commonly used in Singapore. Here are some of them:
Removing the plaque (Dental cleaning): For initial stages of gum disease, removing the plaque and the calculus (the hardened plaque) is enough. This is will make the gums heal on their own. Removing the plaque and regular dental cleaning will ensure that your gums and teeth stay healthy. This happens in several steps:
- Scaling – your dentist will remove the calculus with a special tool. It may cause you to bleed a little until all the bits and pieces of the plaque are removed.
- Polishing – With a polishing tool, your dentist will remove any remains of the plaque as well as stains.
- Root Planning – In case of need, your dentist will use a tool to remove hardened calculus around the root.
- Gum Surgery: If gum disease keeps bothering you and it's at a later stage, your dentist or periodontist may treat it surgically. What happens when plaque remains in hard to reach areas causing more irritation to the gum. With the surgery, your dentist will remove the remaining plaque and treat the gums.
If your child has gum disease, the treatment is identical, the only difference is that you should go to a kids dentist. For gingivitis in toddlers, treatment begins with implementing better hygiene and dental cleaning. It also might require antibiotic treatment as well.
How can you prevent getting gingivitis?
The most effective ways for periodontal disease and gingivitis prevention is with strict hygiene - brush your teeth regularly, brush them with toothpaste and mouthwash. You can also use medicated toothpaste for gingivitis or ones with ingredients suitable for gum disease. Flossing is another important addition to tooth brushing, which will remove even the smallest remnants of plaque on your teeth. You should be careful about oral hygiene techniques as well - remember, you should do it in circular motions.
Another sure way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to visit your dentist at least once every 6 months. This will ensure professional consultation, perfect cleaning, and care for your bright smile.
How much does gum disease treatment cost in Singapore?
The cost for gum disease treatment in Singapore can vary a lot depending on the type of treatment you get and the severity of your case. In most cases, the final cost for your treatment will include the consultation and the treatment itself. While some dental clinics in Singapore offer free consultations, a lot don’t. The final cost will also depend on whether you get any X-rays or need additional medications. The cost will also be more expensive in case you need dental implants or drafts.
That being said, you can expect the cost for a dental cleaning to be anywhere from 100$ to 400$. Scaling and root planning can go from 800$ to 2,500$. If you need gum surgery the cost can start from 1000$ and up. In the case of dental implants, the cost is from 3000$ and up per tooth.
Is gingivitis treatment covered by insurance or Medisave?
Usually, dental insurance and Medisave doesn’t apply to gum disease treatments. It may apply for additional treatments such as gum grafts or dental implants, surgical treatments5. If you have any questions about Medisave and your gum treatment, ask the dental clinic, or visit Medisave’s page online.
- 1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72807-9
- 2. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/researchers-identify-immun...
- 3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/symptoms-cause...
- 4. https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html
- 5. https://www.cpf.gov.sg/members/FAQ/schemes/healthcare/medisave/FAQDetail...