Advanced gum infection, called periodontitis, influence half of Americans beyond 30 years age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As common as the condition is, tooth loss is often the unfortunate outcome when left untreated. But today, with so many successful treatment options available for the advanced periodontal disease, losing teeth doesn’t have to be your next step with an unhealthy gumline.
Gingivitis to Periodontitis
Gingivitis is a tricky, progressive disease, and here’s the reason: The first stage, called gingivitis, occurs when bacterial plaque is not thoroughly removed from your teeth. Red, swollen and bleeding gums are the telltale signs of this infection, but the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) assures that this condition is easily reversible with daily brushing and flossing – and a professional cleaning at the dentist’s office.
When left untreated, however, gingivitis can progress into a more serious condition called periodontitis. Toxins from this buildup of bacterial plaque not only affect your gum tissue, but also the bone and ligaments that support your teeth. As the infection causes a disease to the bone and supporting tissues, your teeth may eventually become loose and need to be treated surgically or removed. But even advanced cases of periodontal disease don’t have to progress to this point.
Your initial step in treating periodontitis is a moderate, nonsurgical treatment called scaling and root planing (SRP). A dentist or dental hygienist gives this treatment by scratching and expelling the plaque and tartar off of your teeth and root surfaces by scaling, and then smoothing away any roughness on the roots to prevent bacteria from gathering again
Pocket Reduction Procedure
Subsequent to scaling and root planing, if the gum tissue isn’t fitting around the tooth and you can’t keep the deep pocket area clean, you may be a candidate for periodontal pocket reduction or flap surgery. By folding back the gum tissue, your dentist or periodontist can remove infectious bacteria and smooth areas of damaged bone, allowing the gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone.
Exposed roots due to gum recession can be covered with gum grafts, wherein gum tissue is taken from your palate or from another source and used to cover the roots of one or more teeth. Covering exposed roots helps reduce sensitivity and protects your roots from decay while stopping further gum recession and bone loss.
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that promotes the growth of bone in an area where the bone has been destroyed by periodontal disease. During this type of treatment, your dentist or periodontist will eliminate bacteria and then place either natural or synthetic bone in the area of bone loss, along with tissue-stimulating proteins to help your body effectively regrow bone and tissue.
In addition to not smoking, which restrains the recovery process, your dentist will likewise prescribe watching out for your periodontal well being with more regular checkups and cleaning appointments. When it comes to periodontal diseases, “prevention is always better than cure.”