Q: I floss daily but have noticed an area where my gums bleed regularly. I have one crown and the bleeding is between that and the tooth next to it. Can you advise?
A: According to London-based orthodontist Dr Neil Counihan (metamorphosisorthodontics.com), ‘The basic problem is that food gets trapped under the crown. If it is not removed, the particles break down and form bacterial plaque within days,’ he says. Without attention, this can harden and form tartar, which can only be removed by professional cleaning.
The process causes unhealthy inflammation in the gum tissue, called gingivitis, where the gums become red, swollen and may bleed easily. The telltale sign is spitting out blood with saliva when you brush/floss. The principal problem with crowns is that their shape is not the same as the original tooth. Older crowns tend not to sit as well long term as more modern versions. It could also be due to a poorly fitted crown, a frequent problem in Dr Counihan’s experience.