Though many adults in the United States have some form of gum disease, it can be reversed in nearly all cases by controlling the breeding ground of bacteria. Early treatment is important to stop infections from spreading to gums and bone, resulting in the loss of teeth.
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque left on teeth through improper or missed brushing and flossing. Treatment to reverse gum disease depends on the stage of gum disease. Options range from nonsurgical treatments to control infection to surgical steps to restore tissue or bone.
Cosmetic dentist Keith Kelley’s dentistry services in Troy include gum disease treatment, general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and family dentistry. Our educational services help you understand gum disease and its ramifications.
In the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis), bacteria in plaque builds up, inflaming the gums. Although the gums may be red and easily bleed, no irreversible bone or tissue damage has yet occurred. But if left untreated, gum disease can advance to periodontitis, the stage where gum and bone pull away from the teeth. At this point, pockets may form that collect debris and become infected. The bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place may then begin to break down. If left untreated, teeth can become loose and fall out, requiring the need for dental implants and tooth restorations.
Treatment for Mild Gum Disease
If you have a mild form of gum disease, you can take steps to reverse inflammation:
- Brush your teeth two times a day.
- Floss once a day.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Avoid tobacco, which reduces your ability to fight infection.
- See your dentist for regular cleanings to remove stubborn plaque.
Treatment for Advanced Gum Disease
If gingivitis goes unchecked, it can progress to periodontitis, advanced gum disease. Treatment of periodontitis is important to save tissue and bone and avoid tooth loss. Depending on the severity of your periodontitis, your dentist may start with nonsurgical methods, such as:
- Root planing and scaling. In scaling, your dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque and tartar both above and below the gum line, making it harder for plaque to stick. Root planing removes rough spots where germs can collect.
- Medication. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to kill bacteria.
At your next dental visit, your dentist will determine the effectiveness of these steps. Many patients will not require further treatment other than good oral hygiene for prevention.
However, if nonsurgical methods do not solve the infections, your dentist may suggest surgical methods, including:
- Pocket reduction/flap surgery: If deep pockets where bacteria thrive remain, you may need flap surgery to remove tartar deposits and reduce the size of the pockets. In this surgery, the gums are moved aside and the tartar is removed. The gums are then sutured in place so they fit securely around the tooth.
- Bone and tissue grafts: If you have lost bone or tissue, grafting can help promote growth. Bone grafting with natural or synthetic bone will encourage restoration of lost bone. If tissue has been lost, grafting of your own tissue from elsewhere or synthetic tissue can be used to cover exposed roots.
Did You Know …
Gum disease can be painless with few obvious signs of its presence. This is why it is important to regularly visit your doctor who has the training to monitor the health of your mouth and recognize symptoms of gum disease.
If you are concerned about plaque buildup and gum disease, please call our office for a consultation.