Gum disease often goes unnoticed in the early stages because it is painless and has few obvious symptoms. However if you have sensitive teeth, bleeding when you brush your teeth, or red or swollen gums it may be a sign that you have gum disease.
If you suspect that you have gum disease, it is important to visit a dentist for a checkup so that it can be treated as quickly as possible. That is because the normal treatment for gum disease varies quite a bit depending mainly on its severity.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Mild Gum Disease
Most cases of mild gum disease can be handled without surgical treatment – which is naturally preferable as it is much less invasive. Some of the more common ways in which mild gum disease is treated can include:
- Dental cleaning and scaling
In truly mild cases of gum disease, dentists will thoroughly clean your teeth and remove and plaque or tartar that may be causing it. Scaling involves scraping away the plaque as well as hard tartar deposits from both above and below the gum line of your teeth.
- Root planing
At times scaling alone is not enough, and will leave behind rough spots where plaque and bacteria can easily accumulate. If that is the case root planing is used to smooth out the root surfaces and create a clean surface so that your gums can reattach to the tooth more easily.
Seeing as gum disease is a type of infection, one of the best ways to handle mild gum disease is by using antibiotics. Topical antibiotics such as antibiotic mouth rinses or gel may be used alongside oral antibiotics to get the infection under control.
The best form of treatment will largely depend on the severity of your gum disease as well as how it is presenting. After an inspection your dentist or periodontist will decide which gum disease treatment fits your case.
Surgical Treatment for Severe Gum Disease
More advanced cases of periodontitis that have spread deep into the gums and affected the bone often require surgical treatment. The normal types of dental surgery used to treat periodontitis include:
- Flap surgery
By making small incisions in the gum, the tissue can be lifted back allowing the roots to be exposed for scaling and root planing. If necessary any damaged bone may be smoothed out before the tissue is placed back flush with the tooth to limit the area that bacteria can grow.
- Bone grafts
If too much of the bone has been destroyed due to gum disease, bone grafts may be used to replace it. The grafts can help your natural bone grow back, and hold your tooth in place.
- Soft tissue grafts
Gums often recede due to gum disease, and in severe cases soft tissue may have to be grafted from the roof of your mouth to reinforce it. Not only will this prevent further recession, but it can also help cover exposed roots and prevent bacteria from accumulating.
- Guided tissue regeneration
When too much of the bone that supports your teeth has been destroyed, dentists may attempt guided tissue regeneration. It uses a piece of mesh-like fabric to separate the boon and your tooth allowing both the bone and connecting tissue to grow back.
Dentists and periodontists will evaluate which type of treatment (or combination of treatments) is best depending on the state of your gums and bone. However as you can see the focus of treatment at this stage is to not only cure the gum disease but also restore or mitigate the damage it has caused.
Now that you know how gum disease is normally treated, you should also have a better idea of the impact it can have. That is why at the end of the day it is far more effective to try to prevent gum disease than treat it after the fact.