Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is a condition in which bacteria
accumulate around the gumline and cause an ongoing infection. As a result of this, gum disease
causes symptoms such as gum inflammation, chronic bad breath, or bleeding gums .
With an estimated half of American adults over the age of 30 having some form of gum disease,
treatment for this condition is common. An initial consultation with your dentist is important to
determine if you have gum disease and how severe it is.
Depending on your unique case, gum disease may require a combination of the following
Early Stage: Cleaning
The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissue.
Gum disease is easier to reverse at this stage, and so a professional cleaning from your dentist
may be all that’s necessary to remove bacteria and help reverse the inflammation. However,
your oral care habits at home are going to help a lot too.
Your dentist may conduct a professional cleaning and have you return to the office to ensure
the gum disease is going away, or you may need additional cleanings. Taking care of your teeth
at home with brushing and flossing is going to be an important part of your healing process as
Next Stage: Deep Cleaning
If your gum disease is a bit more aggressive or has advanced past the point of gingivitis, your
dentist will want to conduct a deep cleaning, also called a root planing and scaling .
The scaling part happens first—your dentist will remove any plaque, tartar, and infection that
may be present to help your gum tissue heal. Next, the root planing helps gum tissue reattach
to your teeth and prevent bacteria from getting underneath the gumline.
This deep cleaning may need to be done more than once. It all depends on your unique smile
and if this cleaning process is effective at treating your gum disease.
In order to enhance the effectiveness of your root planing and scaling procedure, your dentist
may prescribe antibiotics or a mouth rinse to encourage healing.
If a deep cleaning has been done more than once and isn’t successful, your dentist may discuss
the possibility of gum surgery with you to treat your gum disease.
Your dentist will want to remove plaque and infection from areas that may be difficult or
impossible to reach without surgery, allowing the gums to regenerate healthy tissue .
With this procedure, your dentist is also able to put your gums back into place to help them
reattach properly. There are different types of periodontal surgery, so you and your dentist will
talk about which one is right for you.
Preventing Gum Disease
Preventing gum disease is always easier than treating the condition after it’s progressed. While
some people are predisposed to gum disease, adopting healthy home care practices such as
taking care of your teeth, not smoking, eating healthy, and keeping your dental appointments
can help you keep gum disease away.
If you suspect you have gum disease, your dentist can help you reverse the condition with the
right care. Remember, the sooner you treat gum disease, the more successful your treatment is
likely to be!