Progressive and quite destructive, gum disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth. There are multiple steps of gum disease which is also known as periodontal disease. The first level is gingivitis and is the only stage at which the disease can be reversed. If it is not addressed, it will progress to moderate and then to advanced periodontal disease which cannot be cured. While it cannot be cured, it can be managed with the appropriate treatments. We have all of the information you need in order to make an informed decision at Smile Family Dentistry.
An assessment is needed before an adequate treatment plan can be devised. It will determine how far the gum disease has progressed by looking at the dental health history of the patient and addressing any known risk factors. These might not be limited to their dental health but could show up in their medical health history. These could include the use of any tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and eCigarettes. Some prescription medications can also affect gum disease as well.
Gum Disease Non-Surgical Treatment
While not all treatments will cure the disease, there is a variety that can provide relief from some symptoms and allow patients to manage it. In earlier stages, non-surgical options are generally recommended. These include root scaling which focuses on removing the bacteria from the surface of the tooth as well as below the gumline. This can be done by hand or with the assistance of a soft tissue laser.
Root planing scrapes the tooth root to keep their surfaces smooth and to keep bacteria from clinging to the surface which may damage the tooth further. It also helps keep tartar off the root and improves the gum to attach to the tooth surfaces.
The last option is the simplest and most often recommended. Due to the fact that gum disease is bacterial in nature, many times a regiment of antibiotics will take care of the infection. However, it will be determined which procedure is best for the patient at the initial visit.
Surgical Treatment Options
Although non-surgical options can be of benefit, sometimes it just isn’t effective because of the advanced nature of the gum disease. When they are not a viable alternative, surgical options are then offered.
One procedure is flap surgery which is chosen because it helps to shrink the pockets forming between the gumline and the tooth. Gums are cut to expose the root structure so they can be planed more effectively and scaled. The bone tissue can also be shaped in such a way to help retain bone structure. Many times, tissue grafts are used to combat receding gums. There are also bone grafts that can help rebuild the loss of bone mass. There are other surgical options as well which we can discuss when you come in.
Changes in Oral Health Maintenance
While nothing can cure gum disease once it progresses past the initial stage of gingivitis, maintaining a good oral health regimen can greatly reduce symptoms. Patients should brush and floss two times a day and use mouthwash to rinse. Regular cleanings at our office are recommended too. Contact us at Smile Family Dentistry. We are here for you to discuss available options by phone too. Call us at 925-825-1130.