How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Gum disease is incredibly common, especially among older Americans. However, it is a completely avoidable condition that can lead to many consequences, including tooth loss and bone loss. If you have gum disease and want to get rid of it once and for all, keep reading to learn about various periodontal disease treatments you may need.

Deep Cleaning With Scaling and Root Planing

Gum disease is triggered by a bacterial infection in the gums. This bacterial infection can only occur if there is a lot of plaque in the mouth to feed the bacteria. Therefore, fighting gum disease starts by removing any plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from the teeth.

However, if you have gum disease, a regular cleaning probably won't be enough. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar all irritate gums, and irritated gums pull away from the teeth. This allows more plaque, bacteria, and tartar to squeeze into the gums where it can attack the tooth's root. During a deep cleaning, scaling is performed to remove debris below the gumline. Once the area is clean, the teeth are smoothed (planed).  


After the gums are completely cleaned, you'll need to take some antibiotics to actually kill the gum infection. Depending on the severity of the infection, your dentist may prescribe a rinse for you to use for a period of time, or they may apply special antibiotic chips or spheres directly in the gum gap after the deep cleaning.  

Good Oral Hygiene and Time

While you wait for the infection to die, you should also start practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly. In some cases, this alone could reverse some of the symptoms of gum disease. After a short time of caring for your teeth and gums, the dentist may report smaller pockets and healthier gums.

Surgical Procedures

If you had extreme gum disease, however, good oral hygiene and time may not be enough. Gum disease can destroy the gums, leading to gum recession and huge pockets that can't shrink on their own. It can also destroy the jawbone if left untreated.

If this happens, you may need surgical procedures to restore your oral health. These may include a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone or a gum graft to add gum tissue where it has been permanently lost.

Gum disease is a common problem, but it doesn't have to be part of your life. If you catch it early, you can reverse the symptoms, but even advanced gum disease can be treated. If you would like to know more, or if you want to schedule a cleaning, contact a dentist in your area today.