Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease is a rather serious condition that can lead to tooth loss; however, it can also be prevented, treated, and managed. If you think you might have gum disease, it is important to visit our Indianapolis, IN office as soon as possible so that you can get started on treatment. The treatment method will vary depending on the severity of the condition. Fortunately, early detection and treatment can prevent gum disease from developing further.
Please read below for more information on gum disease and our treatment options. By better understanding the condition, you will be able to be your own best advocate when it comes to safeguarding the health of your smile.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. The condition is a significant cause of tooth loss in adults—second only to tooth decay.
Gum disease is caused by food debris, bacteria, and saliva that accumulate along the tooth’s base; this substance, known as plaque, irritates the gum tissue. While plaque can be easily removed with a toothbrush, if it is left behind on the tooth for a period longer than 24 hours, the acidic material hardens into tartar; tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.
As the tartar continues to build up along the gum line, the gum tissue becomes more irritated, swollen, and red. Eventually, the gums begin to retreat from the tooth—leaving open pockets between the gum line and the now poorly supported tooth. These pockets serve as the perfect environment for plaque, tartar, and bacteria to thrive and advance the condition.
Signs & Symptoms
The early stages of gum disease may not cause any symptoms, which is why regular dental check-ups are important. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms may start to appear. These can include bleeding gums, bad breath, receding gums, and loose teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit our office right away so that you can begin treatment.
There are three main types of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily.
- Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease and is characterized by receding gums, bone loss, and deep pockets between the teeth and gums.
- Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease and is characterized by widespread bone loss, gum recession, tooth loss, and deep pockets between the teeth and gums.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a type of deep cleaning that is used to treat gum disease. This procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and roots, as well as smoothing out the roots to help prevent future buildup. This treatment can help to reverse the effects of gum disease and improve overall oral health.
Osseous surgery is a type of periodontal surgery that is used to treat advanced gum disease. This procedure involves removing bacteria below the gum line and contouring the supporting bone and gum tissue. This is done to reduce deep pockets and improve the fit of the gums around the teeth. This treatment can help to reduce the risk of tooth loss and improve overall oral health. The process for this surgery is as follows:
- Anesthetize the gum tissue to ensure the area is numb.
- Make incisions in the gum tissue to access the bone.
- Clean the area of all bacteria, plaque, and tartar.
- Contour the bone to prevent disease progression and the tissue to better conform to the teeth.
- Place stitches in the gum tissue to close the incisions.
Once you have completed treatment for gum disease, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene habits and visit our office regularly for follow-up appointments. Maintaining the health of your smile following gum disease diagnosis is more important than ever to prevent the disease from recurring or advancing further. That is why we suggest visiting our office every three to four months for a professional cleaning and check-up. In addition to regular dental appointments, you should also brush twice daily, floss daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash.
If you think you may have gum disease, or if you are due for a dental cleaning, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health!