Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. When plaque isn't removed from the teeth and builds up, it hardens into tartar, which irritates the gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth and create pockets. Plaque buildup also irritates the gum tissue, causing inflammation and bleeding.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
When gum disease is present, a dentist may recommend a number of treatment options. They are the following:
Sometimes, your dentist patients may prescribe a medication to treat gum disease if it's in the initial stages. Antibiotics are often prescribed, either as topical treatments applied directly to the gums or as a pill. Antibiotics help to kill the bacteria causing the infection, which heals the gums and allows your gums to reattach to your teeth.
Scaling and root planing is a type of deep cleaning that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. These treatments, sometimes called deep cleaning or root planing, are usually recommended when gum disease is caught early on but can also be used for more advanced cases, as well.
During the laser gum therapy procedure, your dentist uses a dental laser to target the bacteria that cause gum disease. The laser kills the diseased gum tissue without harming the healthy tissue. Laser gum therapy is painless and can be completed in just one or two dental appointments.
Gum disease causes the loss of bone around your teeth. When the bone is lost, your remaining tissue is at risk of becoming thin. This puts you at risk for tooth loss. A bone graft can help restore lost bone and tissue, as well as prevent tooth loss.
Gum flap surgery is a procedure that treats advanced gum disease. It basically involves lifting the gums and removing tartar buildup. This procedure involves cutting away the gums and reattaching them. The treatment is often done under local anesthesia in the dental office.
- Guided tissue regeneration
Guided tissue regeneration is a periodontal therapy that is used to heal gum recession. GTR is an alternative option to gum grafting, which is a procedure that grafts tissue from other areas in the mouth to the gum line. GTR can be done with a laser or with sutures.
Preventing Gum Disease
If you are susceptible to gum disease, it's important that you're proactive in preventing it. In addition to undergoing a deep cleaning when you visit the dentist, there are a few things you can do at home to make sure your smile stays healthy.
- First, make sure you are brushing for two minutes at least twice a day. This can help prevent plaque from building up on your teeth, which can turn into tartar.
- In addition to brushing, make sure you are flossing regularly. Flossing can remove plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line, which your toothbrush can't reach.
- Make sure you visit the dentist every six months for your regular exams and cleanings. This can help keep your smile healthy and prevent problems in the future.
At Kusek Family & Implant Dentistry, we offer a full range of services, including cosmetic and implant dentistry in a relaxed dental environment. To learn more about our dental services or to schedule your consultation with one of our dentists, call us at 605-371-3443 or visit us at 4921 E. 26th St., Suite 1, Sioux Falls, SD 57110.