Periodontitis (gum disease) is a common oral condition which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Nearly one-half of people over the age of 30 suffer from advanced gum disease, but few realise that it can lead to tooth loss.
And, it is important to note that gum disease is a treatable condition. Regular brushing and flossing, combined with regular dental check-ups can help prevent the conditions for periodontitis to develop.
However, there are treatment options available if you develop gum disease. These are most effective when the disease is treated in the early stages.
Progression From Gingivitis
A buildup of plaque in the mouth can lead to gingivitis, with the gums becoming red, swollen and starting to bleed. Good oral hygiene practices, including a professional teeth cleaning with a dentist, can reverse the affects of gingivitis.
If it is not addressed it can then progress in to the more problematic periodontitis, where the infection can harm the gums, bone and supporting tissue. The result of this can be loose teeth and tooth loss.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing treatment is the first option when suffering with periodontitis. This is a non-surgical procedure which involves a dentist scraping away the plaque and tartar from your teeth and root surfaces, before smoothing the roots in order to help prevent bacteria building up again.
A successful scaling and root planing procedure should see the gums heal and then attach to the cleaned teeth. This procedure may need to be carried out more than once for some people, but a local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort.
Further Treatment Methods
If the effects of periodontitis have done further damage to the gums and bone there are treatments today to help repair this. Bone grafts can be used to help stimulate bone growth if any was lost to periodontitis. Similarly, a gum graft can be used to cover gums which remain exposed, helping prevent sensitivity, further gum recession and decay.
If the gums do not fit around the teeth after a scaling and root planing procedure, a pocket reduction can be performed by folding back the gum tissue to clear out any remaining infection and smooth any damaged bone.
Your dentist will advise you on the best methods to brush teeth and floss to maintain the oral care routine necessary to prevent periodontitis returning. You may also need more dental check-ups so your dentist can spot any signs early to prevent its return.