Many people suffer from gum disease at one stage or another. If it is caught early and treated, this potentially severe disease can be stopped in its tracks. However, if allowed to worsen, you can end up with infection, permanent damage to tissue, and tooth loss.
There are various treatments for each stage of gum disease.
The mildest form of gum disease is called gingivitis. It can be treated non-surgically, and if done so in time there shouldn’t be any permanent damage to your gums. The key to treatment is regular professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. This might be needed as often as every 3 to 4 months to get control of gingivitis. Sometimes antibiotics are needed to fight infection, and anti-bacterial toothpaste may also be advised by your dentist.
An advanced form of gingivitis is called periodontitis. It should be treated immediately by your dentist to halt the spread of infection and minimize damage to your teeth and gums. The first step for your dentist will be removing tartar and plaque both above and below your gum line using a procedure called scaling and planning. It cleans existing buildup and prevents more from forming. Antibiotics will likely be prescribed, perhaps even inserted directly into the pocket areas of you gums for quick intervention. If initial treatment is unsuccessful, surgery will be necessary.
The most common gum disease surgical procedures include:
- Gingivectomy – removes and reshapes diseased gum tissue. It eliminates the pockets between your teeth and gums to help prevent plaque buildup.
- Flap procedure – your gum flap is pulled back to allow thorough cleaning of the tooth roots. The flap will be strengthened and any bone damage repaired.
- Extraction – in the most severe cases, the tooth may require extraction.
Once any kind of treatment is complete, maintaining proper brushing and flossing techniques is vital to avoid further gum disease. Anti-bacterial mouthwash may be prescribed for consistent use, and regular dental checkups are important.
Dental Hygienist Sarasota FL