Gum disease often begins with bleeding gums but can lead to major infection and even tooth loss. Whether you suffer from minor or severe gum disease, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Restorative dentistry treatments can repair damage and improve oral health and appearance. Orland Park dentist Kenneth W. Coffey offers many treatments to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. The first step to achieving a beautiful smile is maintaining healthy gums.
Gum Disease: Causes and Symptoms
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is caused by a bacterial infection of the gums. Bacteria thrive on plaque. When plaque is left at the gum line, it will attract bacteria. As plaque, tartar (old, hardened plaque), and bacteria buildup at the gum line, the gums will gradually recede from the teeth, creating pockets. If untreated, these pockets will become bigger and bigger, allowing more plaque and bacteria to settle beneath the gum line, and can eventually lead to painful abscesses or even tooth loss.
Though bacteria and plaque are the main culprits of gum disease, it can also occur due to poor diet, family history, smoking, or dry mouth. Symptoms may be as mild as red, sore gums, bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing, or more severe like loose teeth or tooth loss.
Treating Gum Disease
Fortunately, gum disease is treatable. For mild cases, simply improving oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing with an oral antiseptic may be enough to treat the disease. Gum disease can greatly vary in severity, and as such, treatments also vary. Regardless of the treatment used, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing along with seeing your dentist for cleanings and check ups, to ensure your gum disease does not return. Other treatments for gum disease include:
- Antibiotics: For minor gum disease, antibiotics may be enough to clear up the infection. More often, antibiotics are used in combination with other gum disease treatments to eliminate bacteria and help the body heal from the infection.
- Root Planing and Scaling: Root planing and scaling is one of the more effective ways to treat gum disease and close pockets. This is a deep cleaning treatment in which plaque and tartar are scraped away from the teeth down to the roots. If the pockets between the gums and teeth are large, antibacterial fibers may be placed to help prevent bacteria from taking hold while the gums heal.
- Gingivectomy: In more severe cases, a gingivectomy may be needed. During a gingivectomy, diseased gum tissue is surgically removed and the gums are reshaped.ñ
- Flap Procedure: The most severe gum disease may require more extensive surgery than a gingivectomy. The flap procedure is used to treat gum disease that has penetrated to the jawbone. The flap procedure requires a “flap” to be cut within the gum. This flap is pulled away from the tooth to allow access to the tooth root and jawbone. Once the root and jawbone are cleaned and repaired, the flap is closed and stitched back in place.
- Practicing Proper Oral Hygiene Daily: The number one cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing properly and daily are key to preventing gum disease.
Schedule a Consultation
To find out more about gum disease treatment, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Coffey today!