Gum disease is an infection of the structures that support your teeth. Even though it is quite common, affecting three out of every ten Australian adults, it can cause irreparable damage to your gums and soft tissue, and compromise the health of your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day, as well as making regular visits to your dentist can help you to manage plaque levels, and catch gum disease in its early stages. Let’s look at how to treat gum disease, and how you can prevent it from becoming worse.
How Does Gum Disease Develop?
Gum disease occurs in two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. When you have gingivitis, it is a mild infection that is typified by swollen, tender or bleeding gums. You might notice these symptoms when brushing and flossing, or if you spit some blood out when rinsing your mouth.
If you do notice these signs, you must continue to brush and floss as normal, in order to keep the infection under control. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral care.
Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease and will develop if you do not treat gingivitis. When you have periodontitis it causes the gums and structures around your teeth to become weak. When they collapse, spaces known as periodontal pockets form between your teeth and gums and it is very easy for even more bacteria to become trapped, worsening the infection.
Periodontitis can develop further to infect the bones that support your teeth, resulting in loosening teeth and tooth loss.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease?
Patients may experience
- Swelling, bleeding and tender gums
- A bad taste in your mouth or bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Certain risk factors may make you more susceptible to periodontal disease. These include
- Drug use
- Certain medications
- Having diabetes
- Hormonal changes such as pregnancy
- Undernourishment and poor nutrition.
How To Treat Gum Disease: What You Should Do
If you do notice early-stage gingivitis you should continue with your dental care routine. You may want to include an antibacterial mouthwash too if it’s not something you usually use. You should see an improvement in a few days but if not, it is advisable to see your dentist. Visiting your dentist every six months gives him or her an opportunity to spot and treat the early signs of periodontal disease before it can do irreparable damage. It’s difficult for you to see all areas of your mouth but your dentist has the best chance of detecting a problem early on.
If periodontitis does develop, it can’t be cured but it can be managed. Some of the strategies that may be employed can include
- Antibiotics to treat the infection from the inside
- Deep cleaning including scaling and planing
When periodontal disease is very advanced, treatments such as flap surgery and bone grafts may be required.
Scaling And Root Planing Procedure
Scaling is a non-invasive but effective procedure whereby plaque and tartar are removed from below your gum line. Planing is a procedure whereby the roots of your teeth are smoothed out to prevent grooves where bacteria can accumulate and cause further infection. By making the roots smooth, they have a better chance of reattaching to your teeth.
What Are The Benefits Of Scaling And Planing Therapy Process For Periodontal Disease?
Scaling and planing may help with
- The progression of gum disease
- Managing tooth decay
- Preventing future tooth loss
- Improving bad breath
- Protecting your tooth roots
What Is Dental Curettage Procedure?
Curettage is the process of removing unhealthy gum tissue from the gums and giving it a chance to heal. Curettage is often done in conjunction with antibiotic treatment.
What Is Flap Surgery Therapy?
Patients who do not respond to scaling and planing treatment may require a more advanced treatment for their periodontal disease called flap surgery. During flap surgery, your dental practitioner will lift the gums away from the teeth, and then remove the tartar buildup. The gums will be reattached more firmly, reducing the size of periodontal pockets.
Bone Grafts Treatment Process
If your gum disease has advanced to the extent that your underlying bone is affected and deteriorates, a bone graft may be needed to replace it. During the procedure your dentist will insert small pieces of bone into the areas that have eroded, to build them back up again. This process makes the jaw more stable and also encourages your jaw bone to grow back. If you have lost teeth due to periodontitis, having a bone graft can reinforce your jaw to make it strong enough to support dental implants.
The Importance Of Managing Gum Disease
Periodontal disease must be treated in its early stages to stop it from progressing. In addition to compromising your gums and teeth, it has also been associated with a host of medical conditions including
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic respiratory conditions.
It’s important to have regular dental check ups so that the health of your gums and teeth can be monitored.
If you need help with how to treat gum disease it’s best to have early treatment, which is simpler, less expensive and gives you the best chance of a favourable outcome. Please contact us at (03) 9626 9581.