Gum treatment is usually recommended by your dentist if you are suffering from an ailment of the gums. And the most common issue to occur with a person’s gums is gum disease.
Gum disease, medically known as gingivitis, is an infection that causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is the earliest form of infection and usually occurs in patients who fail to practice good oral hygiene.
Gum disease always starts when food debris in the mouth mixes with saliva and bacteria. This, in turn, forms a thin film called dental plaque that sticks to the teeth’ surfaces.
If the plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it mineralizes and becomes hard to form tartar, also known as calculus. Calculus can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
Both plaque and tartar consist of harmful bacteria that irritate the gums. If these aren’t taken care of, they continue to irritate the gums, causing gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it extends from the gums to the underlying bone and leads to periodontitis – which is much worse.
If you are someone with gum disease, you will typically notice one or more of the following signs and symptoms –
Long-standing gingivitis that doesn’t receive any professional intervention leads to various other complications. The most worrisome is periodontitis – in which the diseased gums shrink and recede from teeth, exposing the roots. Deep pockets might also develop that trap food debris and plaque.
With the progress of periodontitis, you may lose gum tissue and bone around the teeth, causing them to loosen or fall out. These changes can occur either over a short period or very rapidly, affecting some teeth or the entire mouth.
Failure to get professional help leads to the patient becoming immune-compromised. This then turns into a painful condition, called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis in which the infected gums swell, become ulcerated, and slough off.
Depending on the stage of gum disease, there are a variety of gum treatment options available. The treatment of choice also depends on your response to previous procedures and your overall health. Gum treatments are either nonsurgical therapies to surgical ones.
As the name suggests, these therapies don’t involve any surgery and are usually performed in the earlier stages of gum disease.
During your regular checkups, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth. Additionally, they will also clean above and below the gum line in the entire mouth.
If you have some signs of gingivitis, you might be recommended to get a professional cleaning more than twice a year.
While dental cleanings aren’t a treatment for active gum disease, they are an important measure to prevent it from occurring.
Scaling and root planing are deep cleaning, nonsurgical procedures performed under local anesthesia. In this, plaque and calculi are removed (scaled) from above and below the gum line. Furthermore, any rough spots on the tooth root are smoothened (planing).
Smoothening the root surface removes bacteria and also provides a clean surface for the reattachment of gums. These therapies are recommended if your dentist assesses that you have plaque or tartar underneath the gums that have to be removed.
Surgical treatments are usually advised when the gum disease has progressed beyond the help of non-invasive treatments.
In this treatment, the affected gums are peeled back and the tartar is removed. In certain cases, the irregular surfaces of the affected bone are made smooth to prevent disease-causing bacteria to proliferate.
The gums are then placed back onto their original positions and stitched into place. This surgery reduces the size of the spaces between the affected gums and teeth, thereby limiting the areas where bacteria can invade.
Bone graft procedures involve using fragments of either the patient’s bone, synthetic bone, or a donated bone to replace the bone affected by gum disease. The graft serves as a platform for bone regrowth, restoring the stability of the tooth.
This surgical procedure fills in places where gums have been removed from teeth or reinforce thin gums. Grafted tissue, commonly availed from the palate (roof of the mouth) is stitched into the affected areas, adding extra tissue.
This surgery is performed when the bone surrounding the teeth has been destroyed. Guided tissue regeneration stimulates gum tissue and bone growth. Flap surgery is usually combined with GTR, with a mesh-like fabric being inserted between the gum tissue and bone.
This prevents the gum tissue from growing into areas of bone, allowing the latter to regrow to support the teeth better.
Done in cases of moderate and advanced bone loss. After flap surgery, shallow craters in the bone are smoothened. This prevents bacteria from accumulating, making it harder to proliferate.
It is possible to have gingivitis or periodontitis without noticing any signs and symptoms. Our dentists at River Rock Dental Downtown Shakopee, Doctors Christianson, Backes, and Hanson recommend that you visit them at regular intervals. This will help determine your risk level and also prevent future dental issues.
To schedule an appointment, call us at (952) 445-5556. You can also fill in this form and we’ll get in touch at the earliest!