Almost every adult in the United States will experience gum disease at least once in their lifetime. This common infection of the gingival tissue (the gums) affects the majority of adult dental patients, and even some younger patients, as well. If caught early enough, treatment for gum disease is quite simple. When gum disease progresses, treatment can become complicated.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums, the tissue that wraps tightly around the teeth to protect tooth roots from debris and holds the teeth in place. This infection usually comes with symptoms such as bleeding gums, gum sensitivity, tooth sensitivity and inflammation. Usually caused by prolonged periods of poor oral hygiene, gum disease can quickly progress into a painful problem.
Those with good dental hygiene can still get gum disease. Genetics play a part, as do tooth shape, age and bite alignment. There are many factors that affect the health of the gums, not just dental hygiene. Injury to the teeth and gums can also cause gum disease.
5 Common treatments for gum disease
Gum disease can affect any individual, regardless of age, gender or dental hygiene routine. The following is a list of treatments commonly used to address gum disease.
1. Professional dental cleaning
Almost every mild case of gum disease can be cured by a trip to the dentist. During a checkup, the dentist uses specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and the gumline. There is no replacement for a professional dental cleaning. Keeping up with a dental hygiene routine is important, but nothing can replace a cleaning. Most dentists recommend having a dental cleaning done twice each year. If gum disease affects a patient often, coming in for a professional cleaning more than twice each year may be beneficial in combating infection.
2. Scaling and planing
Scaling and root planing is a nonsurgical procedure that involves deep cleaning the teeth and gums while the patient is under local anesthesia. Plaque and tartar are scraped away above and below the gum line (known as scaling). Rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth with tools in a process known as planing.
Some forms of gum disease can be cured with a round of antibiotics. Often, antibiotics are used in combination with surgery or other therapies, or sometimes on their own to clear bacteria.
4. Gum grafting
Gum grafting reinforces thinning gums and fills in spaces in the gums where the tissue may have receded. The tissue is taken from the palate and surgically stitched to the affected areas.
5. Gum pocket reduction surgery
Also known as flap surgery, during this procedure the gums are lifted back and the tartar is removed from the gum line. The gum tissue is then smoothed and placed back onto the teeth, so it wraps tightly around the tooth. Harmful bacteria that cause gum disease can hide and thrive in these pockets.
Do you have gum disease?
One or more of these treatments may help you. If you experience recurring gum disease, ask one of our trained dentists to help you come up with a plan for preventing this common infection.
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