Gum Disease and How to Treat It
What It Is
Gum disease or gingivitis which is its mildest form is a disease where the gums are red, swollen and bleed. Usually, with the right oral care, it can be reversed. This includes things such as thorough brushing and flossing together with regular dental cleanings.
If it is allowed to progress it can turn into a more serious form called periodontitis. The gums will begin to recede or pull away from the teeth and then form pockets that get infected. This can lead to other illnesses and tooth loss.
It starts when tartar and plaque buildup on the tooth surface. If they are not removed with regular oral care and dental cleanings, the buildup which contains bacteria and food particles then contribute to tooth loss. This is because of the acid that the plaque produces. When the body starts trying to fight off the bacteria its enzymes will end up destroying the bone tissue.
Receding gums from periodontitis do not grow back. Once they pull from the teeth they are gone. Ideally, to fight gum disease and win, it is essential to fight early on.
The Symptoms of Gum Disease
The first symptom is red, swollen gums. You might find you bleed when you brush your teeth. Another symptom is bad breath that does not go away. If any teeth feel loose, this is another sign of gingivitis.
Sensitive teeth could also be another indication that gingivitis is progressing. Get a professional dental cleaning and start being careful about flossing and brushing every day.
Treatments for Gum Disease
Scaling and Root Planning
This is a deep cleaning procedure. Your dentist will work to pull the gums gently away from the teeth to remove tartar or plaque from below the gum line. After this, your dentist may use a laser treatment to remove any remaining diseased gum tissue.
This method can actually help the gums regrow a few millimeters. It is important to get to your dentist as soon as you can so that the least invasive treatment can be used.
If the problem becomes severe, surgery may be the only option. This type of surgery lifts the gums back to remove tartar. There may be some damaged bone. If this is the case the dentist will smooth the bone over to keep the areas where bacteria can grow to a minimum.
Gums are replaced so that they all fit around the teeth snugly. This surgery helps keep periodontal disease from advancing.
For more serious problems this procedure is available. It takes fragments of your bones or synthetic ones to replace any bone destroyed by the disease. The grafts will help regrow bone so that the teeth can become stable. This technology is new and encourages the body to regenerate its own bone.
Soft tissue grafts– This is a similar procedure but it involves the graft of soft tissue from the roof of the mouth. It is stitched in place where gums have receded thereby adding tissue to areas where the gums depleted.
This surgery is done in tandem with the flap surgery. When bone that supports any teeth has been destroyed, it works to stimulate the gum growth and the bone growth. A piece of mesh fabric is placed between the gum and the bone. It keeps gums from entering the area where bone belongs so that the bone can regrow to connective tissue and support the teeth.
Bone Loss Restoration
Another adjunct to flap surgery, shallow craters in the bone from the disease are reshaped so that they are less shallow. The reshaping keeps bacteria from entering and promoting greater tooth decay or bone loss in the future.
These reduce the severity of periodontal disease. They are done in a dentist’s office. They may go by brand names such as Arestin but they all contain antibiotics like tetracycline which will concentrate around the gums.
The medicine helps regrow the gum along the gum line and strengthen the connection to the tooth. They can help stop any further damage from periodontal disease.
Talk to your dentist if you notice any of the symptoms described above. The sooner gum disease is treated the less severe the damage will be and the more likely.
Greenbelt Dentist – John Powers is one of the best at ensuring that these services are done correctly. Here at centennial dentist we look to him for expertise in this field.