A Phoenix Dentist Explains The Different Types Of Periodontal Treatments
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a type of inflammatory condition that affects the tissues (the gums) surrounding a tooth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
A leading Phoenix dentist says that gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the tissues in the mouth, is the usual precursor of gum disease. Other signs of periodontal disease also include bleeding gums (especially when brushing), sensitive, red or swollen gums, loose teeth or teeth that appear to have shifted, and bad breath.
Gum Disease Treatments
There are different non-surgical and surgical types of periodontal disease. A dentist in Glendale, Arizona says that the treatment given to patients will depend on the severity of the condition.
Non-surgical treatments include:
Scaling and root planing
This non-surgical procedure, done under a local anesthetic, is recommended if the dentist or periodontist determines that you have plaque and tartar under the gums that have to be removed. This treatment involves carefully cleaning the root surfaces to remove the plaque and tartar buildup. Scaling means scraping away the plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Planing means removing or smoothing the tooth root’s rough spots.
Cleaning each tooth and smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Scaling and root planing are sometimes followed by additional therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials or systemic antibiotics.
Professional dental cleaning
If you have some signs of gum disease, Dr. John C. Oatis says most dentists will recommend professional dental cleaning more than twice a year. This will not treat active gum disease, but is a crucial preventive measure that can help you avoid having a full-blown problem. Dental cleaning means removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line of all teeth.
Antibiotic treatments and toothpaste
Antibiotic treatments can be a stand-alone therapy or combined with surgery and other therapies. It is also often prescribed to reduce or temporarily eliminate the bacteria associated with gum disease. One example is Chlorhexidine, which comes in mouthwash or gelatin-filled chip form. It is an antimicrobial that can control plaque and gingivitis in the mouth or in periodontal pockets. Over-the-counter toothpastes that contain fluoride and triclosan can also help reduce the development of plaque and gingivitis.
Surgical treatments for gum disease include:
Flap surgery or pocket reduction surgery
In case deep cleaning and medications do not work, flap surgery may be recommended to remove tartar deposits in deep pockets. This is also done to reduce the periodontal pocket and make it easier for the patient, dentist, and hygienist to keep the area clean. This type of surgery involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar found in the deep pockets. The gums are then sutured back in place, and when the tissue heals, they will fit snugly around the tooth again.
Additional procedures may also be recommended after flap surgery so that any bone or gum tissue lost to periodontitis can regenerate. These include bone grafting wherein natural or synthetic bone is placed in the area of bone loss. This helps promote bone growth.
Soft tissue grafts
Soft tissue graft reinforces thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded. Grafted tissue is used to add tissue to the affected area. This grafted tissue is often taken from the roof of the mouth.
Guided tissue regeneration
A procedure that can be used with bone grafting is guided tissue regeneration. In this procedure, a small piece of mesh-like material is placed in between the bone and gum tissue. This helps keep the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone should be, thereby permitting the bone and connective tissue to regrow.
Dentists from Gentle Touch Family Dental Care say that good oral hygiene plays an important role in keeping periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from coming back. As such, always brush and floss properly and regularly.