March 16th, 2020
Your gum disease treatment will depend on several factors, including your personal health history and the stage of your gum disease. This page covers:
In the very early stages – when it is gingivitis – you may just need a professional cleaning from your dental team. They can also give you some great advice and tips on how you can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If your gum disease is beyond gingivitis, the first step in treating gum disease usually involves a special deep cleaning called scaling (SCAY-ling) and root planing (PLAY-ning). This treatment may be done over more than one visit, depending on your personal needs.
Your dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket.
Then, the root surfaces of your teeth are smoothed, or “planed”, to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.
Your dentist or hygienist may recommend certain medicines to help control infection and discomfort or to aid healing. You may be given pills, a mouthrinse or they may place medication directly into the periodontal pocket after the treatment.
Scaling removes plaque and tartar from below the gumline.
Root planing smoothes the tooth root and helps the gums reattach to the tooth.
Healed pocket after treatment.
Sometimes, scaling and root planing isn’t enough treatment on its own. If pockets do not heal enough after scaling and root planing, gum surgery may be needed.
Surgery allows your dentist to remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. Afterwards, your gums will be stitched into place to tightly hug your teeth.
Surgery can also help to shrink pocket depth and make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean.
Probe shows pockets due to gum disease. Gums are inflamed and bone loss has occured.
The bone is contoured and any remaining tartar is removed.
Healed site after periodontal surgery.
If bone has been damaged or lost by gum disease, then you may need surgery to rebuild or reshape the bone in your mouth. This kind of surgery is called a bone graft.
First, your dentist may use splints, bite guards or other types of tools to hold loose teeth in place and help tissues heal. If too much gum or bone tissue has been lost from your gum disease, he or she may need to also do a bone graft.
Your dentist may place a membrane layer at the surgical area to help your gums stay in place while the tooth root reattaches to the supporting bone tissues. This is called guided tissue regeneration.
To help you heal after surgery, your dentist may put a protective dressing over the area and recommend or prescribe a medicated mouthrinse. You may also be given a prescription to treat infection or for pain relief.
Diseased tissue is removed from the pocket. In some cases, the bone may be reshaped.
Bone has been reshaped.
Grafting material is placed over the bone. A membrane covers the grafting material.
After the healing period
Once your gum disease is under control, it is very important for you to get dental care on a consistent basis. The periodic cleanings recommended after these treatments are called periodontal maintenance care. These cleanings are more extensive than the standard cleaning and will help you keep your gums healthy. Your periodontal maintenance involves cleanings that are deeper than a normal cleaning in the dental office. With periodic maintenance, the amount of plaque bacteria is lowered. Then, the inflammation can get better, pockets can shrink and your gums can become healthier.
Once your gum disease is brought under control, it is very important that you get dental care on a periodic basis. You have a better chance of keeping your teeth if you do. Your gum disease may get worse if you don’t!
You will need to see your dentist more often than other people. The pockets and other issues from your gum disease will make it harder for you to clean plaque from your teeth.
Your dentist will talk to you about a treatment plan that works best for you, and he or she will recommend a maintenance care schedule that is based on your personal case. Over time, fewer appointments may be necessary. Once your gums are healthy, your dentist will determine a maintenance schedule based on your clinical evaluations.
Once your gums are healthy, your dentist will determine a maintenance schedule based on your clinical evaluations.
You may also need special medications than can help control the infection and pain or to help your gums heal. The medicine could be a pill, a special mouthrinse, or a medication that your dentist places directly into the pocket right after deep cleaning.
Your teeth and gums may be sensitive after your treatment. This soreness may make you want to avoid cleaning the treated areas. But it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions on home care! If plaque is not removed, root decay may form. Talk with your dentist or hygienist if a special toothpaste or other treatments can lower your tooth sensitivity.
It is very important that you brush and floss every day – especially if you are healing from gum disease.
Smoking, chewing, vaping and dipping puts you at a higher risk for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Tobacco use also can make gum disease worse and make it harder to treat it. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist or physician for information about how to quit.
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