Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a primary cause of tooth loss among Americans. This condition is caused by the accumulation of bacteria near the gum line. If left untreated, infection develops beneath the gums, around the teeth roots. This can lead to mobility, shifting, and tooth loss. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for periodontal disease. The treatment recommended for you will depend on the severity and progression of the disease. In this article, a Denver dentist will explore four of the most common treatments for gum disease. |
#1: Dental Prophylaxis
Dental prophylaxis is the clinical term for dental cleaning. This treatment is a basic element of oral healthcare, and it is necessary to keep harmful bacteria at bay. If gum disease is detected early enough, this routine cleaning can actually reverse the condition. Those with gingivitis – red, puffy, tender gums – can usually treat the condition with a simple dental cleaning. This effectively eliminates the source of bacteria and gives the gums a chance to heal.
#2: Scaling and Root Planing
Unfortunately, gum disease isn’t curable unless it’s detected early on. If bone loss has already occurred due to the condition, then it must be managed with periodontal therapy. When infection seeps into the gums, the supporting jawbone erodes over time, creating pockets around the teeth roots. This creates space for more plaque, bacteria, and debris to accumulate – and these deposits cannot be removed with brushing and flossing alone. Therefore, mild to moderate periodontal disease must be addressed with scaling and root planing, a nonsurgical option. This procedure is similar to a routine dental cleaning. However, the tissues are also numbed so that the dentist or hygienist can clean deeper into the gum line. After sweeping away plaque, debris, and food deposits, the clinician then smooths the teeth roots to discourage further irritants from reattaching.
#3: Laser Therapy
Many dentists and periodontists use laser therapy to treat gum disease. Laser therapy can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other procedures. A soft tissue diode laser uses light energy to target infected tissue. The laser kills bacteria and infected tissue, but leaves healthy tissue intact. The entire procedure can be performed without the use of incisions or sutures. This gives more opportunity for faster, more effective healing. Furthermore, laser energy cauterizes as it cuts. As a result, patients experience less bleeding during and after the procedure.
#4: Gum Surgery
If gum disease continues on untreated, it can progress quickly. Advanced periodontal disease is characterized by swollen, tender gums that bleed. There is often pus or discharge at the gum line accompanied by a bad taste or bad breath. At this stage, it’s not uncommon to experience mobility, shifting, and tooth loss. The only way to address this problem is gum surgery.
Traditional gum surgery involves making incisions at the gum line, and reflecting the gums away from the teeth temporarily. This allows the surgeon to fully visualize the problem areas so they can be cleaned thoroughly. Once accessed, the doctor uses ultrasonic scalers to clean the teeth roots. He or she may also incorporate laser therapy into the procedure. When all surfaces have been thoroughly disinfected, the gums are repositioned, then sutured into place.
No matter what type of procedure you require, your dentist will follow up with you to ensure the treatment has been successful. Typically, he or she will evaluate the periodontal pockets about four to six weeks after treatment. Generally, patients are placed on a cleaning schedule to maintain oral health following gum treatment. The frequency of these cleanings should be determined by your dentist.
Contact a Denver Dentist Today
If you’d like to learn more about periodontal treatments, contact Metropolitan Dental Care online or call us at 303-534-2626. We have an on-staff periodontist who can help you on your journey to better oral health.
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