Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease is an all too common condition that affects 46% of all American adults aged 30 years and older. If left untreated, gum disease progresses and can cause serious issues in your mouth and surrounding areas, such as: chronic bad breath, receding gums, loosened or lost teeth and jaw bone deterioration. And chiefly due to the spread of oral bacteria to other parts of the body, gum disease has also been linked to life threatening conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, premature births, and low birth weight.
Fortunately, the earliest stage of gum disease (gingivitis) is often easily reversible with a regular dental cleaning and daily brushing and flossing. For more advanced stages of gum disease, a dental “deep cleaning” (called Scaling and Root Planing) is typically the first recommended step for healing the disease. If necessary, we may recommend further treatments, such as antibiotics, pocket reduction surgery, and guided tissue regeneration.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a common condition that affects nearly half of all American adults. In most cases, gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene. Gum disease is a progressive infection that presents in three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Sometimes, gum disease is the result of certain health or lifestyle factors, including hormonal changes, smoking and tobacco use, stress, family history, chronic illness, and some medications.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are three stages of periodontal (gum) disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gum disease is often completely painless so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms!
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. At this stage, bacterial plaque has built up along the gumline, leaving the gums irritated, inflamed, red, and sometimes prone to bleeding easily when teeth are brushed. The space between teeth and gum begins to get deeper, forming pockets. Only the gums are affected at this stage, and it is highly treatable; there has been no damage to the jaw bone or other tissue yet. Persistent bad breath or metallic taste in the mouth may occur. It is sometimes difficult to detect any of these symptoms without a dental examination, but if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that has spread to the bone supporting the teeth. Pockets between the teeth get deeper, and debris, bacteria and plaque can accumulate and spread below the gum line. Redness, swelling, and bleeding develop or worsen. In this stage of periodontal disease, some irreversible bone and tissue loss occurs, and teeth may start to feel a bit loose.
Advanced Periodontitis occurs when the bone and tissues that support the teeth become severely infected. Gum pockets are very deep and can fill with pus. Toxins from the buildup of bacterial plaque and tartar cause further deterioration of gum tissue, bone, and ligaments that support the teeth. Teeth often feel loose, extremely sensitive to hot and cold, and may even need to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading further.
Non-Surgical and Surgical Gum Disease Treatments
Though the effects of gum disease sound (and are!) quite scary, fortunately, modern dentistry provides us with many treatment options that can halt the progression and even reverse the disease entirely! Gingivitis is typically easily reversed with a professional regular dental cleaning and good daily oral hygiene (brushing and flossing), but more advanced stages of gum disease require professional dental treatment. There are several surgical and non-surgical options that your dentist can recommend according to your specific case.
Scaling and Root Planning is typically the first step to treating periodontitis. It is a non-surgical process, known colloquially as a dental “deep cleaning.” Scaling removes plaque, tartar, and bacterial toxins on your teeth both above and below the gum line. Root planing smooths the tooth-root surfaces, making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere and easier for the gums to reattach to the teeth and heal. After a few weeks, our dentists will evaluate how well your gums have healed and determine whether or not further treatment is necessary. In most periodontitis cases, scaling and root planing coupled with continuous good oral hygiene reverses the disease entirely!
Surgical Treatments are necessary when scaling and root planing alone are not sufficient in healing gum disease, usually in advanced periodontitis cases. When scaling and root planing are done first, the amount of surgery required usually decreases. Surgical options can include pocket reduction surgery and regenerative tissue therapy. Pocket reduction surgery involves removing harmful bacteria trapped in the space between gums and teeth, and reducing the depth of the pockets to allow for more effective oral hygiene and less plaque accumulation. Regenerative tissue therapy includes gum and bone grafts, which repair gum recession and bone loss, respectively. If you are living with the symptoms of gum disease, don’t wait – Call Dental Care of Glen Ellyn today.