Gum (periodontal) diseases are treated in a variety of ways depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums that surround your teeth caused by naturally occurring plaque that is not properly removed by brushing, flossing and regular professional cleanings. There are different stages of gum disease depending on how advanced the gum Disease infection becomes. Gum disease in its most advanced stages can result in tooth loss. In order to help prevent this from happening, your dentist will check for signs of gum disease by measuring the space between your gums disease and teeth during your regular checkup.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment for gum disease and good oral home care.Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum disease tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Gum Disease Symptoms
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
Treatment of gum disease
If you or your dentist notice signs of gum disease, your dentist may ask about any symptoms and examine your gums disease treatment. You will also be asked about your medical history as some conditions impact on your oral health, and vice versa.
Scaling and surgery
If you have gingivitis, your dentist will clean your teeth thoroughly with gritty toothpaste using an electric toothbrush and special instruments called scalers. This type of thorough cleaning is called scaling. Your dentist may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash that helps prevent plaque formation and teach you how to brush and
floss your teeth properly, especially in the areas that you’re not reaching.
If the pockets are too deep for a dentist to clean simply by scaling, you may need gum disease surgery. Your dentist will refer you to a periodontologist (a specialist in treating gum disease) for this. Typically, the surgery involves making some cuts in the gum tissue so that it can be pulled back. This allows the periodontologist to see into the bottom of very deep pockets and clean the area much more effectively. Once all the plaque and calculus has been removed, the flap of gum disease is replaced with sutures (stitches).