Periodontal disease (or gum disease), also known as periodontitis, is a danger not only to your oral health, but its potential health impact go well beyond your oral cavity. Periodontal disease is mostly observed in adults. According to an estimate, 80 percent of American adults are affected by some sort of the disease. You need accurate periodontal treatment in order to prevent severe tooth loss and further gum and bone damage.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a gum and bone infection caused by a sticky film of bacteria (or plaque) that sticks to your teeth. Gingivitis is the initial stage of the gum infection, during which your gums swell, turn red and bleed easily. If targeted at this stage, gingivitis is completely reversible with suitable oral health care, such as a professional cleaning alongside regular brushing and flossing. During the later stage (or periodontitis), the bone and tender tissues that hold your teeth can be damaged which can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Some of the important causes leading to periodontal diseases include smoking, hormonal fluctuation in girls/women, diabetes, stress, medications, illnesses and many more. Symptoms are mostly not observable until the disease has progressed and they include persistent bad breath, gum inflammation, painful chewing, loose and sensitive teeth.
Diagnosis of periodontal disease must be verified by your dentist by inquiring about your medical, taking your X-ray to determine any bone loss history, examining your gums and checking any signs of inflammation etc.
Periodontal Treatment: Surgical and Non-Surgical
The main purpose of periodontal treatment is to check the infection by thorough cleansing of the pockets around your teeth, and avoiding damage to the surrounding bone. Maintaining a good dental hygiene routine at home is the prerequisite for any type of treatment. Various periodontal treatment options are available depending on the magnitude of your gum disease.
Treatments for your periodontal disease that don’t require surgery include:
Scaling eliminates tartar and bacteria from both the surface and base of your tooth. Specialized instruments like a laser or an ultrasonic device may be used to perform scaling activity.
- Root Planing
Root planing provides smoothness to the root surfaces of your teeth preventing further accumulation of tartar and bacteria. It also wipes out bacterial byproducts that cause inflammation, and retard healing or adhesion of the gum to your tooth surfaces.
- Laser Treatment
Low strength laser light therapy minimizes bacterial levels, diminishes inflammation, eliminates infected tissue, maximizes circulation, promotes collagen formation, and improves bone and tissue healing. Lasers heal as they work, allowing gum tissue to improve faster, helping to arrest the progression of active periodontal disease.
Local or oral antibiotics can aid in checking bacterial infection. Local antibiotics such as antibiotic mouth rinses or antibiotics gel insertion between your teeth gaps and gums or into pockets after extensive cleaning. Oral antibiotics may still be required to completely get rid of infection-causing bacteria.
If you have progressive periodontitis, treatment may involve dental surgery, such as:
- Flap Surgery (Pocket Reduction Surgery)
In this method, a small portion of your gum tissue is raised back through a tiny incision into your gum created by your dentist. This reveals the roots for more efficient scaling and root planing. Since, periodontitis often leads to your bone loss, the inherent bone may be suitably re-modified prior to the suturing back of gum tissue in its location. Subsequently, after your healing process, cleaning these areas to maintain healthy gum tissue becomes much easier.
- Soft Tissue Grafts
Upon losing your gum tissue, your gum-line starts constricting, for which you may require strengthening up of some of your damaged soft tissues. This is usually performed by removing a minute portion of tissue from the mouth surface or another donor source and grafting it to the affected area. This can be helpful in reducing further gum recession and conceal exposed roots so that your teeth can afford a more pleasing appearance.
- Bone Grafting
This method is executed when periodontitis has obliterated the bone surrounding your tooth base. The graft may include aggregates of small pieces of your own bone, or artificial or donated bone. The bone graft aids in preventing tooth loss by retaining your tooth in spot. It also acts as a platform for the natural bone regeneration.
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
This process is followed for the re-development of your bone that was damaged by bacteria. Your dentist positions a particular piece of bio-compatible material between existent bone and your tooth normally, during flap surgery. The material forbids unwanted tissue from making entry into the healing area that rather allows your bone to regenerate back.
- Bone Surgery
After flap surgery, the bone surrounding your tooth is re-contoured to minimize the depressions. This helps in controlling the bacteria growth and accumulation.
Timely diagnosis of your periodontal disease can be helpful for initiating accurate treatment and saving yourself from bone fractures and tooth loss.
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