Gum Disease Treatments and Grafts
Gum diseases can be treated in many different ways, depending on the severity of the disease, and the way the patient has responded to previous treatments.
Treatment of gingivitis
Gingivitis can be treated by:
- Rigorous oral hygiene at home, including brushing regularly and flossing at least once a day. Rinsing with salt water or a disinfectant solution (Chlorhexidine, Listerine, etc.) can also be recommended.
- A dental cleaning, including tartar removal every six months to eliminate the plaque and tartar.
- The dentist can recommend brushing with a mixture of baking soda and peroxide. Since the resulting paste is abrasive, it is recommended to not put excessive force on the gums and the teeth.
Treatment of a periodontitis
Periodontitis is a more advanced infection of the gums. It manifests itself not only with bleeding gums, but also with teeth that move slightly or severely, bad breath, and periodontal pockets (deep space between the tooth and the gum).
Periodontitis can be treated by:
- Scaling and root planning, which is a non-surgical procedure of tartar removal and deep cleaning done under local anesthesia. The scaling allows removing all the tartar that is located over and under the gum line. The root planning makes the tooth smooth and free of bacterial debris and diseased tissues.
- Soft periodontics is an act that is similar to scaling, but first necessitates a disinfection period of the gums by using an antibiotic cream or mouthwash. The gum having undergone antibiotic therapy makes its tartar easier to detect and remove. The scaling therefore becomes less invasive.
- Open scaling is a surgical procedure needing to open the gum before scaling it, followed by closing it with stitches and dressings. Sometimes an antibacterial agent is placed during the recovery period. This procedure is only recommended when the periodontitis is advanced, or if the other non-surgical treatments have not healed the disease. An open scaling can be done either by a dentist or a specialist of the gums, the periodontist.
- Bone grafts require the use of bone fragments from the patient himself, a donor, or synthetic bone to replace the one that was destroyed by periodontitis. This graft serves as a platform so that bone regenerates itself.
- Gum graft reinforces a thin gum. It can also replace the gum around teeth where there is recession (receded gums). In most cases, gum from the palate is used and sutured into the grafted site. This procedure can be done either by a dentist or a periodontist.
- Guided regeneration is a surgical procedure that helps the bone supporting the teeth to be reformed. Following an open scaling, a dressing is inserted between the gum and the bone. This dressing avoids the gum from reforming in the space where the bone should be, allowing the bone that heals slower to form well.
Success rate of gum treatments
The success rate of periodontal treatments is influenced by:
- Smoking that significantly slows down the healing of the gums.
- Good oral hygiene at home, including brushing and flossing.
- Tartar removal and cleanings at the dentist every three to four months.
- If the partner also suffers from gum disease, it is recommended to treat them as well to avoid the transfer of microbes.
WebMD, better information, better health (www.webmd.com).
Last update: 24th of August 2007.