There are many treatments available for gum disease, and these treatments depend on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Treatments range from nonsurgical procedures that control bacterial growth, to surgery to restore supportive tissues. In some patients, the nonsurgical procedure of scaling and root planing is all that is all that is needed to treat gum disease.
Surgery is needed when the tissue around the teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with nonsurgical options.
WHAT ARE NON-SURGICAL TREATMENTS FOR GUM DISEASE?
- Professional dental cleaning: During a typical checkup, your dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque and tartar that build up and harden on the tooth surface. (Plaque is the ‘film’ that covers teeth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Tartar is the hard, yellowish deep deposit on teeth,) When plaque and tartar reach this level of build up, they can only be removed with professional cleaning. Cleaning removes plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line of all your teeth. If you have some signs of gum disease, your dentist may recommend professional dental cleaning more than twice a year.
- Scaling and root planing: This is a deep-cleaning, non-surgical procedure that is done under local anesthesia. Hardened plaque and tartar (also called calculus) are scraped away (scaling) from above and below the gum line. Also, any rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
WHAT ARE SURGICAL TREATMENTS FOR GUM DISEASE?
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery: During this procedure, the gums are lifted back and tartar is removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed. This limits the areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. The gums are then placed so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth. Reducing the space between the gum and tooth also limits the areas where harmful bacteria can grow. The chance of serious health problems that can arise from periodontal disease is also reduced.
- Bone grafts: Bone grafts use fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone. Grafts replace bone – and help bone regrow – in areas destroyed by periodontal disease. This restores the secure attachment of the teeth to the bone. Another procedure, called tissue engineering, prompts your own body to create new bone and tissue at a fast rate.
- Soft tissue grafts: This procedure strengthens thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded (areas where the root of the tooth is exposed). Grafted tissue, most often taken from the roof of the mouth, is then stitched in place.
- Guided tissue regeneration: Performed when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed, this procedure stimulates bone and gum tissue growth. Done in combination with flap surgery, a small piece of mesh-like fabric is inserted between the bone and gum tissue. This keeps the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone should be, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow to better support the teeth.
- Bone surgery: Bone surgery smoothes shallow craters in the bone due to moderate and advanced bone loss. Following flap surgery, the bone around the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters. This makes it harder for bacteria to collect and grow.
In some patients, the non-surgical procedure of scaling and root planing is all that is needed to treat gum diseases. Surgery is needed when the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical options.
SEEK TREATMENT IF…
- If you have bad breath that won’t go away
- If you experience pain when chewing
- If your teeth feels loose
- If your teeth is sensitive
- If your gums appear red or swollen
- If your gums feel tender or bleed when you brush them
- If you notice that your gums are receding or your teeth are appearing longer over time
TEETH CLEANING AND OTHER PERIODONTAL TREATMENT IN FAR EAST DENTAL
Most people with periodontal disease (i.e. gum disease) have the less severe form, which is gingivitis. This condition manifests as bleeding gums due to plaque and calculus deposition. If left untreated, this can progress further to affect beyond the gums.
Between 5-15% of people with periodontal disease have a more severe form, also known as periodontitis. At this stage, the gums, bone, periodontal ligaments and the teeth can become affected. Sometimes, you might notice bad breath or bad taste in the mouth. Inflammation from build up of plaque bacteria can spread to gum socket holding the tooth. Gums will recede and cause the teeth to be sensitive or more predisposed to decay. At more severe stages, teeth can become mobile and eventually lost. Therefore, take precautions at an early stage before it is too late.
The first step to preventing gum diseases is to have good oral hygiene habits (i.e. brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, at least). In addition, it is important to have regular scaling and polishing sessions every six months. Regular visit to the dentist for Scaling and Polishing can minimise the risk of gum disease.
WHAT IS SCALING AND POLISHING?
Scaling removes calculus without damaging your teeth. At the same time, water spray and suction are used to remove the fallen debris. Scaling also removes trapped food and plaque containing bacteria
Teeth polishing after scaling removes stains and makes your teeth feel smooth and shiny. At Far East Dental, we use the Prophyjet, which sprays air and water with sodium hydrogencarbonate powder to remove stains and plaque from your teeth.