If you’re one of the many Americans who suffer from gum disease, you could end up needing extensive treatment to return your gum tissue back to normal. While gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can be easier to reverse, more advanced stages of gum disease can be challenging to treat.
Gum disease starts as mild gum inflammation—called gingivitis—and can worsen over time to become full-blown periodontal disease. If you notice signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, or red gum tissue, and ignore them, you could need one or more of the treatments below.
While your dentist will conduct a deep cleaning to help resolve your gum disease, additional treatment measures may be needed. One of these treatments is laser gum surgery, in which your dentist or periodontist (a gum specialist) uses a laser to help remove affected gum tissue . Laser gum surgery can help your dentist better see and remove the plaque and bacteria that have built up around your gumline and are affecting your gums. Laser gum surgery can help remove bacteria that are causing the infection in your gum tissue, and often cause less discomfort and swelling than traditional oral surgery procedures.
If your gum disease is severe enough that your gums have receded and exposed your tooth roots, you may need a gum graft to help restore your smile. A gum graft is an oral surgery where your dentist uses tissue taken from another part of your oral cavity and attaches it to the affected area where gum tissue is missing due to periodontal disease . There are different types of gum grafts your dentist or oral surgeon may use to help regenerate healthy gum tissue and protect your tooth roots from decay and sensitivity.
While antibiotics alone won’t make gum disease go away, they are often used in conjunction with other therapies to help treat the active infection seen in periodontal disease . These may include both oral antibiotics as well as topical antibiotics your dentist or periodontist may apply during your appointment. Your dentist can talk with you about whether your gum disease treatment will require antibiotic therapy during your appointment.
Gum disease becomes more difficult to treat as it advances, which makes continuing maintenance essential for protecting your smile. Regular cleanings with your dentist can help keep gum disease away once your smile is restored, and daily brushing and flossing at home are essential.
Treatment for gum disease can become expensive and involved if left to progress, which is why you should never ignore one of the first signs of gum disease—bleeding gums. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the dentist or you see blood when brushing, even occasionally, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your oral healthcare professional for an exam to see if gum disease could be the culprit!