Treatment Options for Gum Disease: How diseased and damaged gums can be restored to health
We cannot treat what we do not know. And, due to the nature of periodontal disease as a progressive condition, it is essential for our team at Smile in Style in Moonee Ponds, Victoria, to understand each patient’s unique concerns. From there, our dentists, Drs Terry Rose and Sutanter Wander recommend interventions that effectively treat gingival inflammation and, as needed, damage to the gums and supportive tissues.
Treatment options for early gum disease
Of course, the best “treatment” is prevention. Preventing gum disease comes down to consistent, proper brushing and flossing at home. Good home care must be complemented by routine professional care, including regular exams and cleanings by hygienists at our office.
We also identify and address any risk factors like smoking or a diet heavy in sugars that promote the development of destructive bacterial plaque. Since plaque builds up and flourishes by feeding on sugars and starches, removing these substances with proper cleaning behaviours is essential. Modifications to hygiene and the addition of dentist-approved oral care products can also halt the progression of the disease. The effects of early-stage inflammation (gingivitis) can even be reversed when effectively treated.
Options for late-stage disease
Without proper treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. At this stage, irreversible damage has been done. In fact, severe periodontitis threatens the supportive ligaments and bone. Teeth may become loose in their sockets, and we may need to remove them with extraction procedures.
Depending on how far along periodontitis has progressed, we may end up recommending one or a combination of the following therapies:
- Nonsurgical Scaling and Root Planing – SRP is the “deep cleaning” alternative to the standard professional teeth cleaning. This service not only removes bacteria and plaque from underneath the gumline but also involves smoothing out the rough surfaces of the tooth roots. Disease-causing bacteria are less likely to accumulate on smooth surfaces. This therapy may be appropriate for patients with more modest periodontitis
- Pocket reduction – We can partly determine or “stage” the severity of gum disease by measuring the pockets or spaces between the teeth and gums. The deeper the periodontal pocket, the more severe the disease. We may use special techniques to remove harmful bacteria from pockets that tend to collect these substances, and we can further smooth damaged bone. This process encourages healing and the healthy reattachment of the gums to equally healthy bone. This option may be right for patients whose gums have not properly healed with SRP alone or for those with more severe forms of periodontitis
- Grafting – A “graft” refers to a piece of tissue, either from another part of your mouth or a donor source, being transferred to a recessed gumline. In doing so, we can cover up tooth roots that are exposed and vulnerable to further damage. We can also build up deteriorated or damaged gums in this manner. Other regenerative procedures include bone grafting, which builds up bone and encourages its regrowth and healing. Again, this may be a suitable treatment for those patients with receding gums, root exposure, bone loss, and associated symptoms such as tooth sensitivity
- Laser dentistry – Dental lasers may be used for various dental procedures, including the treatment of gum disease and related conditions. Our laser systems present a light-touch and precise way to treat inflamed, damaged, deteriorated, and diseased soft tissues. We can also use lasers to address the cosmetic effects of gingival imbalances, such as an overly “gummy” smile. Any time we can avoid surgical cutting, we are supporting a gentle, highly targeted, fast, fear-free and conservative alternative to conventional treatments that use “triggers” for dental anxiety (like scalpels)