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Gum Disease Treatment

When dealing with gum disease, the treatment options depend on how serious it is and your overall health. You can go for non-surgical treatments like scaling, root planning, and antibiotics. If it’s more advanced, surgery might be needed, which can involve pocket reduction or guided tissue regeneration. Usually, a gum specialist called a periodontist does these procedures.

What is Gum Disease Treatment?

Gum disease treatment involves a variety of dental procedures aimed at fighting infection and repairing tissue damage caused by periodontal (gum) disease. Typically, periodontists, who are specialists in gum health, perform these procedures, though general dentists can handle milder cases of gum disease.

Gum disease develops when plaque and tartar accumulate on your teeth, causing your gums to react with symptoms like redness, swelling, tenderness, and bleeding when you brush or floss.

The earlier you address gum disease, the better your chances for maintaining good oral health in the long run. In its initial stage, known as gingivitis, gum disease can be reversed. However, in the advanced stages, known as periodontitis, it can lead to gum and bone damage, resulting in the formation of pockets around your teeth. This can lead to further infection, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.

Nonsurgical vs. Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease: What are my options?

The choice between surgical and non-surgical treatments for gum disease hinges on various factors, such as:

  1. The severity of gum disease.

  2. Your current oral health status.

  3. Your overall health condition.

  4. Your capability to adhere to post-treatment oral care instructions.

Both non-surgical and surgical treatment options for gum disease are accessible, with some periodontists also providing sedation dentistry to ensure your comfort during the treatment process. To gain further insight, it’s advisable to have a discussion with a healthcare provider.

Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatments

Non-surgical treatments are typically suitable for individuals with early-stage gum disease, such as gingivitis or mild periodontitis. These non-surgical options include:

  1. Dental Prophylaxis

    Dental prophylaxis is a routine dental cleaning, similar to the regular biannual cleanings with a hygienist. During this procedure, a healthcare provider removes plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth. For individuals with gingivitis, this initial stage of gum disease can often be reversed through professional dental cleanings and improved at-home oral hygiene. Depending on your specific condition, your dentist or hygienist may recommend more frequent cleanings to keep harmful bacteria under control.

  2. Scaling and Root Planning

    Scaling and root planing, considered a deep dental cleaning, goes below the gum line to eliminate plaque and tartar on the root surfaces of your teeth. In addition to thoroughly cleaning your teeth, your periodontist or dental hygienist smooths any rough spots on your tooth roots to prevent the reattachment of bacteria and plaque. Local anesthesia is administered by your periodontist to numb your gums and ensure your comfort during the procedure.

  3. Antibiotic Therapy

    Your periodontist may employ antibiotics either as a standalone treatment or in combination with other methods. Common antibiotics for gum disease treatment include minocycline HCl or chlorhexidine. These medications can be placed in the periodontal pocket, the space between your gums and teeth.

  4. Laser Periodontal Therapy

    In this procedure, a small laser is used by your periodontist to remove diseased tissue and eliminate bacteria beneath your gum line. Laser therapy is sometimes recommended as an alternative to traditional gum surgery, as it doesn’t require incisions or sutures.

Surgical Gum Disease Treatments

Individuals with moderate to advanced periodontal disease typically require surgical interventions to address the issue. Surgical treatments for gum disease comprise:

  1. Pocket Reduction Surgery (Flap Surgery)

    During this procedure, your periodontist will make incisions along your gum line and gently move your gums away from your teeth temporarily. This allows them to access the roots beneath. They will then eliminate tartar buildup and clean your root surfaces. In some cases, they may also smooth and reshape areas of damaged bone to hinder bacterial growth. Finally, your gums are repositioned and sutured into place.

  2. Bone Grafting

    Dental bone grafting utilizes your own bone, donated bone, or synthetic bone to reconstruct areas damaged by gum disease. The graft acts as a support structure, maintaining space until your body can regenerate new bone. Often, periodontists perform bone grafting in conjunction with pocket reduction surgery.

  3. Gum Grafting

    Gum grafting employs your own tissue, donated tissue, or synthetic tissue to address gum recession, a common symptom of periodontal disease when gums pull away from your teeth. During gum grafting surgery, your periodontist places the tissue graft in areas where your gums have receded and secures it with sutures. If your own tissue is used, it is typically harvested from the roof of your mouth.

  4. Guided Tissue Regeneration

    Periodontal disease can create gaps between your tooth root and bone. In guided tissue regeneration, your periodontist places a membrane in the damaged area to prevent your gum tissue from encroaching on the space where bone should regenerate. In many cases, periodontists combine this procedure with a bone graft to facilitate the bone regeneration process.

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