Gum Disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is a condition where supporting tissues, gums, and the surrounding teeth are infected. According to Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), the initial sign of development of gum disease is a sticky white substance (plaque) on the teeth. The situation arises when the bacteria in your mouth react with starchy food residue. If you continuously neglect your teeth, the plaque will develop into tartar underneath the gum. At this stage, tartar can only be removed through specialized cleaning by a dentist. If not checked, it can develop gingivitis or inflamed gums. Ideally, the best way to keep gum disease in check is to maintain proper oral hygiene. However, advance treatments may be necessary depending on the severity of the condition. Below are 6 effective treatments for gum disease.
1- Pocket Reduction Surgery/ Flap Surgery
This surgical procedure involves inserting of small gum lines to push back the gums to facilitate for a clear view of the roots. The dentist will then remove the tartar under the gum line. Depending on the extent of the disease, the irregular surface of the infected bones may be reshaped to reduce the spread of the bacteria and future colonization. The next step is repositioning and securing the gums with stitches. Flap surgery minimizes the areas where bacteria can cause further damage by improving oral hygiene and reducing the depth of gum pockets.
2- Laser Therapy
A laser is an instrument that stimulates the production of electromagnetic radiation. A dentist may advise the use of Laser therapy to reduce the pocket size. While there are several types of lasers devices that can be used for dental treatments, only a few devices have been approved by FDA to treat periodontal diseases in the US. Due to the sensitivity of the gum area, laser procedure requires an experienced professional to avoid tissue damage.
3- Tissue Regeneration
Tissue regeneration may treat gum disease if the bone has been damaged. The technique involves grafting the bone to give it a new chance to regrow. Since the thin gums may already be weakened, a dentist may use soft tissue grafts for extra support. Another approach to tissue regeneration is implanting membrane to stimulate the bone generation process. This helps to reduce the growth of gum tissue in the area where the bone should be re-growing.
4- Scaling and Root Planning
Root planning (debridement) may be ideal for some cases of gum disease. The procedure involves a deep cleaning underneath the gums to eliminate the tartar and disease-causing bacteria from the root of the teeth. Root planning is often associated with pain, so it may be done under a local anesthetic. You may experience mild pain after root planning for up to two days. This kind of non-surgical treatment is only done if the dentist finds out that you have tartar and plaque beneath the gums and they can be removed.
5- Use of Drugs
There are a variety of antibiotics and antimicrobial that can be used to control the development of plaque and temporarily remove the disease-causing bacteria. Drugs such as Chlorhexidine Gluconate can be used as a mouth rinse or as a gelatin-filled chip in combination with surgical or non-surgical procedures. Antibiotics such as minocycline, doxycycline, and tetracycline, if used in low dosages, can be effective solutions to gum disease. Some of these antimicrobial agents can suppress bone destruction.
6- Professional Dental Cleaning and Behavior Change
The first think that your dentist will emphasize as part of the treatment for gum disease is behavioral change. Daily plaque removal will become a new routine. If your dentist notes signs of gum disease, he or she may advise professional dental cleaning at least twice a year. In addition to this, you will be advised to form new hygiene habits such as cleaning teeth regularly, quitting smoking, and adjustment of diet.
Although gum disease is treatable, it can also be a risky health hazard. A publication by CNN, indicate that gum disease presents a 12% higher risk to early death in older women. This indicates that oral health has a significant impact on your overall health. Remember, the best way to prevent gum disease is to regularly brush your teeth as well as watching on your diet. Avoid sugary meals and stop smoking to keep plaque under check.