Treatment Of Gum Infections
Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums. It is caused by plaque, a thick and sticky film of bacteria that builds up on the teeth. Plaque can harden to become calculus, also known as tartar. Plaque and calculus are caused by poor oral hygiene; that is, the teeth have not been cleaned thoroughly or often enough.
Early stage of gum disease: Bacteria in plaque and calculus can damage the gums and cause gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis can usually be treated successfully by removal of the plaque and calculus, followed by thoroughbut gentle cleaning (That is, flossing then brushing every day).
Advanced stage of gum disease: The advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. it can cause serious damageto teeth and the gums, and bone that supports the teeth. As gum inflammation and infection get worse, pockets form between gum and teeth, and may recede from the teeth. As a result in the loss of many teeth in some people.
Benefits of treatment: The purpose of periodontal treatment is to stop or slow down the progression of gum disease. Benefits include having:
- A mouth that feels, looks and is healthier
- Teeth that feel smooth and look clean
- A better chance of keeping your teeth for life.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Red, swollen, tender, painful or bleeding gums
- Gums that have shrunk from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Abscesses between teeth and gums
- The fit of a denture has changed
- Loose teeth, drifting apart of teeth, and gaps appear between teeth.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Your dentist will check your oral health by examining your teeth and gums, and noting whether plaque and calculus are present. Tooth fillings are examined to check whether they are well-shaped and smooth, and are not loose or contributing to gum disease
After examining your gums and teeth, your dentist may recommend periodontal treatment. A treatment plan will be developed in consultation with you. Ask any questions you may have, for example, about treatment, benefits, risks, time frames or costs. Treatment may be by a dentist, periodontist or, where appropriate, dental hygienist working under instruction. Treatment may involve the following.
- Removal of build-ups of plaque and calculus using dental instruments.
- Scaling: the tooth surface is cleaned to remove plaque and calculus from above the gum line, and in shallow pockets below the gum line. Scaling usually requires only one visit.
- Root planning: Deposits of plaque and calculus on tooth roots and in deeper pockets beneath the gum line are removed using instruments that leave the root surface clean and smooth. A local anaesthetic may be needed to numb the teeth and gums being treated. Root planning may require several visits for different areas of the muth to be treated.
- Repleacement of fillings: If a filling is contributing to gum disease, it may need to be reshaped or replaced.
- Instructions on how to improve your oral hygiene, including removal of plaque by better brushing and cleaning between the teeth.
- Quit smoking: smoking increases the risk of gum disease and reduces the chances of succesful treatment.
Your dentist will evaluate the results of treatment if the gums have responded well and oral hygiene is good, a program to maintain your oral health will be developed. Scaling and root planning may have to be repeated during the maintanance phase. if the gums have not healed well and still have signs of disease, you may need to take a course of antibiotics. In severe cases, periodontal surgery may be required. if you do not have treatment, the risk is that gum disease may get worse, leading to tooth loss. Your dentist can discuss with you various options to replace lost teeth, such as dental implants, bridges or dentures