Millions of Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can develop over time due to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth that eventually becomes plaque. When the plaque isn’t removed, it can harden and lead to the development of tartar, which cannot be removed simply by brushing your teeth. This buildup can eventually lead to gum diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis, which can leave you with bleeding gums, loss of bone and even tooth loss if the problem becomes advanced.
Fortunately, there are several ways a dentist can provide treatment for gum disease that have been effective for many patients. Of course, the sooner you seek treatment when you learn you have periodontal disease, the better your chances are for avoiding its advanced stages and losing any teeth. Here are some of the most effective treatment methods.
Scaling and Root Planing
Also known as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing is a dental procedure that is performed when the patient is under anesthesia. The dentist or dental hygienist gets underneath the gum line to scrape away the plaque and tartar. Spots on the teeth that contain plaque are also smoothed away. This removes excess bacteria and cleans the gums and teeth so that they can heal by reattaching to each other.
Flap Surgery/Pocket Reduction Surgery
This procedure involves the lifting of the gums to remove tartar beneath. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the infection, the bone surface is smoothed when there is damage. This is done so that it makes it easier to access bacteria. The gums are later positioned in a way so that it fits more tightly around the tooth, which limits the gap between the gum and tooth.
Bone grafts may be performed so that parts of the bone that have been compromised by gum disease can be replaced. The bone grafts can be used to promote regrowth of bone, which helps to support the teeth. Tissue engineering, a new form of technology, is used with this procedure. It encourages the body to regenerate bone and tissue more quickly.
Soft Tissue Grafts
The soft tissue graft procedure helps to fill in areas within the gums that have receded due to periodontal disease. Usually, soft tissue is grafted from the roof of the mouth. It is stitched into place in the gums.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
This procedure is performed when the bone in the gums that supports the teeth is destroyed. It helps to stimulate the growth of bone and tissue within the gums and is typically done in conjunction with flap surgery.
Bone surgery may be done after flap surgery to smooth away craters in the bone when there is moderate to advanced loss of bone. The craters are made smaller and the teeth are reshaped, which makes it more difficult for the growth of bacteria.
Medications for Gum Disease
Sometimes, certain antibiotics can be used along with surgery or other procedures to treat gum disease. This helps to temporarily remove bacteria that can eat away at the bone in the gum and tooth. Some of the most common antibiotics used to treat periodontal disease include Chlorhexidine, tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline. Chlorhexidine is usually administered directly in the mouth or inside the pockets in the gums that develop with moderate to severe periodontitis. Usually, it is used after root planing and scaling and is released gradually over the course of seven days. The other medications are used to treat gum disease and are prescribed by a dentist.
There is also a medicinal type of mouthwash the dentist may prescribe for one of the earlier treatments for periodontitis.
If you are in the Carmel, IN are and need to see a skilled dentist to prevent gum disease or treat it, contact Dr Nancy Halsema at your earliest convenience.