Gum Disease Treatments
Gum Disease is an infection of the gums and manifests itself in ways ranging from a mild abscess to raging periodontitis. There are various treatments available depending on the severity of the infection. As our grandmothers were fond of saying “prevention is better than cure”, so following a healthy oral hygiene regimen will go a long way towards preventing gum disease. If, however, you do happen to be in the situation where you have gum disease, there are various treatments available.
What is Gum Disease?
Your mouth is filled constantly with saliva, food particles and bacteria. These form a sticky substance called plaque, which coats your teeth. Regular flossing and brushing normally takes care of most of it. Negligence and improper dental care will result in the plaque hardening into tartar, which is much more difficult to get rid of. The tartar can be insinuated below the gum line, causing infection. If left untreated, the infection worsens and spreads. Eventually you could end up with acute periodontitis.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen, bleeding and tender gums
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages
- Loose teeth
The presence of one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have gum disease. They are merely indicators that something is wrong, and should be checked out by your dentist as soon as possible.
Treatments for Gum Disease
Deep Cleaning: If the gum disease is not too severe and only at the beginning stages, a deep clean from your dentist or dental hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar build up and stop the infection before it worsens. Applicable medication together with regular, follow up deep cleaning will ensure the prevention of another onset of gum disease.
Root scaling and Planing: If the initial deep cleaning proves inadequate, your dentist will proceed to scaling and root planing. Under local anaesthetic, your dentist will scrape away all the accumulated tartar and plane your roots. This will allow the gums to re-attach to clean roots.
Flap Surgery: The same principle as scaling and planing, just a little bit more intense. The dentist will delve a little bit deeper to get to the pockets of tartar and infection. These will be thoroughly cleaned and the root prepared for re-adhesion of the gum tissue. The gums will be pulled tight around the root and, in some instances, stitched to ensure a tight fit of the gums around the root.
Bone Grafts: If the infection is so extreme that it has led to bone loss, the periodontal surgeon might perform a bone graft. Pieces of your own bone, synthetic bone or donated bone tissue are grafted in place. This anchors and secures the tooth once more in the jawbone. The gums are re-attached as in flap surgery and antibiotics prescribed to ensure healing.
Gum disease is a painful and embarrassing condition that has to be treated as a matter of urgency. Luckily, with advances in modern dentistry all is not lost. Recovery from gum disease is possible. If you suspect that you might have gum disease, we urge you to consult your dentist urgently for a proper diagnosis and recommended treatment. The sooner you get help, the less dental work you will need to undergo.