What is Gum Disease?

“Gum disease affects approximately a third of the adult population. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It is often caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow bacteria to grow and build-up on the teeth, hardening into what dentists call plaque.”, as stated by New York Total Dental’s website.

Gum Disease Treatment

When it comes to gum disease treatment, the best way to treat gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene. However, you might require additional medical and dental treatment if gum disease progresses quickly. Now, it is important for you to keep in mind that there are various treatments that are available depending on the stage of the disease, your overall health, and the way you might have responded to previous treatments. From non-surgical therapies to restoration of supportive tissues through surgery, this introduction to gum disease treatment covers all possible treatment options that one will come across when considering treatment.

Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment

There are treatments for gum disease which do not necessarily involve surgery. These are mentioned below.

Professional Dental Cleaning

When you go for a typical checkup at the dentist’s office or visit your dental hygienist, they would remove the tartar and plaque build-up through professional cleaning. It would involve cleaning the entire gum line of the teeth to ensure that there is no plaque left on the tooth surface which has hardened. During the checkup, the dentist would also check to see if you show any signs of gum disease and might recommend a professional dental cleaning more than 2 times a year to get rid of hardened plaque. It is important that you keep in mind that dental cleanings are not considered as gum disease treatment as they are simply a preventive measure for ensuring that there is no further development.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning procedure which is done under a local anesthetic. It is a procedure in which the plaque and tartar are scraped away during the scaling from below and above the gum line. The goal is to work on the rough spots of the tooth root so that they are made smooth through planing. Through the smoothening of the rough spots, bacteria are removed and a clean surface is provided for the gums to reattach with the teeth. The procedure is only conducted by the periodontist or the dentist if it has been determined that there is plaque and tartar under your gums which has to be removed.

Surgical Treatments

Pocket Reduction Surgery/ Flap Surgery

During the surgery, the gums are lifted back in order for the tartar to be removed. Irregular surfaces are smoothened so that the damaged bone is visible. It helps ensure that disease-causing bacteria have no place to hide. Then, the gums are placed in order for the tissue to fit perfectly around the teeth. The method involves the reduction of the size of space between the tooth and gum. As the area would be decreased in size, harmful bacteria would be unable to grow and the chances of periodontal disease occurring would be minimized.

Bone Graft

The bone graft is a procedure wherein fragments of your own bone, donated bone, or synthetic bone are used to replace the bone that has been damaged by gum disease. The graft provides a platform for the re-growth of the bone to restore teeth stability. Tissue engineering is paving the way for bone and tissue regeneration at an accelerated rate.  

Guided Tissue Regeneration

Guided tissue regeneration is performed where the bone supporting the teeth has been damaged. The procedure works to stimulate gum tissue and bone growth. It is performed in combination with flap surgery. Guided tissue regeneration ensures that the gum tissue does not grow in the area where the bone must be. Thus, it allows for the connective tissue and bone to re-grow to provide better support to the teeth.

Bone Surgery

Finally, bone surgery is a procedure through which shallow craters in the bone are smoothened to deal with moderate to advanced bone loss. Flap surgery is performed initially to reshape the bone around the tooth and decrease the craters. This helps make it difficult for bacteria to grow.