Understanding Your Gum Disease Treatment Options

 In General Dentistry

Gum disease is one of the most common diseases in this country.  But, the good news is that it is a treatable disease, with many options available at various stages.  Successful treatments are usually measured by their ability to do the following:

  • Reduce or Eliminate Inflammation – Infection results from the bacteria and the endotoxins produced by that bacteria.  This causes gums to swell and become redder than normal. But, if you can reduce or eliminate the inflammation, that’s a sign that your body is fighting against gum disease and is winning.  
  • Decrease Pocket Depth – With the progression of gum disease comes the breakdown of the microscopic ligaments that bind your teeth to your gums.  This causes “pockets” to form, that is, the space between your tooth and gum, which allows loose food particles to get stuck.  And, that leads to worsening bacterial infections.
  • Stop and/or Slow Attachment and Bone Loss – The goal of treatment is to slow or stop the microscopic ligaments from breaking.  These are what bind the teeth to the gum tissue and bone. In severe cases, the alveolar bone, the bone that holds your teeth in place, can also be eaten away, which can result in loose or lost teeth.  

Early Gum Disease Treatment Options

Early detection and treatment are everything when it comes to anything regarding your oral and overall health.  And, in these early stages of gum disease, treatment is relatively simple. Some of your options include:

  • Laser Pocket Disinfection – Laser Pocket Disinfection, or LPD, is just as it sounds.  A dental laser is used to kill the harmful bacteria that have built up in the pockets.  Depending on your location, your dentist can carry out this procedure or your dental hygienist.
  • Scaling and Root Planing – This is essentially a deep cleaning.  For this procedure, your hygienist will use metal instruments to scrape away tarter and calculus on the root surface.  They may also apply an antibacterial gel or prescribe an antibacterial rinse.

Advanced Gum Disease Treatment Options

For those suffering from advanced gum disease or whose early treatment wasn’t quite successful, the next recommendation may be surgery.  These procedures include:

  • Lanap Protocol – The process of this laser-based surgery uses a fiber that’s inserted into the pocket between the gum and tooth.  Energy from the laser then kills the bacteria, as it targets the source of the inflammation without the need to hurt or remove any healthy tissue.
  • Osseous Surgery – During this procedure a periodontist will use a scalpel to cut the gums and fold them back for easy access to the tooth root for a thorough clean of the targeted area.  This also allows them a clear view of the alveolar bone. From there, they’ll be able to determine whether or not the bone itself needs to be reshaped. If so, then bone graft material will be placed in the surgical site.  Once everything is sewn back together, then a dental laser is used to kill the bacteria in the pocket.

As first mentioned, gum disease is absolutely treatable.  But, as with everything else, you must be proactive. Though dental treatment may sometimes be necessary, the best way to prevent and treat gum disease starts with good oral hygiene practices.   

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