Gum disease is a very common problem, and it can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Mild cases of gum disease can often be treated with good oral hygiene habits, regular dental cleanings, and antibiotics. However, there are cases when more extensive treatment is necessary. In this blog post, we will discuss the various treatments for gum disease. We will start by explaining what gum disease is and why it should be treated as soon as possible. Then, we will list and explain the different treatments available for gum disease. Keep in mind that not every treatment will be right for every person – your dentist will work with you to find the best treatment plan for you.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning. Once tartar has formed, it is much more difficult to remove plaque. If plaque and tartar are not removed, they can cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease. It can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, form pockets of infection, and eventually lead to tooth loss.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important that you seek treatment for gum disease as soon as possible:
- bleeding gums
- swollen gums
- red or irritated gums
- receding gums
- bad breath that doesn’t go away even after brushing your teeth
- loose teeth
- changes in the fit of your dentures
There are many different treatments available for gum disease. The treatment plan will be determined by the severity of your gum disease and your overall oral health. Here are the options available for treating gum disease:
Non-Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene habits are essential for preventing and treating mild forms of gum disease. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Often, cases of gingivitis will respond well to improving your oral hygiene practices. Even with more advanced cases of gum disease, good oral hygiene is recommended to prevent the infection from getting worse.
Regular Dental Cleanings
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene at home, regular dental cleanings are also important. During a professional cleaning, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. They will also be able to tell you if you are missing certain places with your brushing or flossing routine in order to maximize your at-home care. Most people should have a teeth cleaning once every six months, however there are cases where more frequent cleanings may be recommended.
Antibiotics can be used to treat infections caused by gum disease. They are usually delivered through a tray system that is worn at home over the patient’s gums. Prescription mouthwashes may also contain antibiotics and/or chlorhexidine to decrease bacterial populations in the mouth.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure that is often used to treat gum disease. This process is similar to a regular teeth cleaning, however it is more thorough. During this procedure, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and below the gumline. They will also smooth out any rough spots on the roots of your teeth where bacteria can hide. This makes it harder for future plaque to accumulate.
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Gum Graft Surgery
Gum graft surgery may be necessary if you have lost a significant amount of gum tissue due to gum recession. During this procedure, your dentist will take healthy tissue from another area of your mouth, such as the palate, and graft it onto the affected area to cover one or more exposed tooth roots. This helps to decrease tooth sensitivity and improve the look of your smile.
Regenerative surgery is a treatment used to treat areas of bone loss due to severe periodontitis. This procedure involves creating an incision in the gums to access the underlying bone. The bacteria is removed and then bone grafts, tissue-stimulating proteins, and/or membranes are placed to encourage the regeneration of bone and tissue.
Dental Crown Lengthening
Dental crown lengthening may be necessary if your teeth appear too short due to excess gum tissue. This is known as a “gummy smile” and it occurs when there is too much gum tissue. In addition to affecting the look of your smile, excess gum tissue can also affect your oral health, which is why dental crown lengthening may be recommended. During this procedure, your dentist will remove some of the bone and gum tissue around your teeth to make them look longer.
Periodontal Pocket Procedures
Periodontal pocket procedures are used to treat periodontitis. During this procedure, your dentist will clean out the pockets of infection around your teeth and then secure the gum tissue snugly around the tooth to encourage the gums to re-attach to the teeth.
In this blog, we have discussed the various treatments for gum disease. We hope that this has given you a better understanding of your options and what to expect from each treatment. If you think you may be suffering from gum disease, we encourage you to make an appointment with your dentist so they can properly diagnose and treat your condition.
Treating gum disease is important not only for your oral health, but for your overall health as well. If you have any questions about the treatments we’ve discussed, please feel free to contact our office today!