What is gum disease (gingivitis)?
Gum disease, or gingivitis, is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene.
Periodontitis, also generally called gum disease or periodontal disease, begins with bacterial growth in your mouth and may end — if not properly treated — with tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.
Non-surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease that don’t involve surgery include:
• Professional dental cleaning. During a typical checkup your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar (plaque that builds up and hardens on the tooth surface and can only be removed with professional cleaning) from above and below the gum line of allteeth. If you have some signs of gum disease, your dentist may recommend professional dental cleaning more than twice-a-year.
• Scaling and root planing. This is a deep-cleaning, nonsurgical procedure, done under a local anesthetic, whereby plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Scaling and root planing is done if your dentist or periodontist determines that you have plaque and calculus (hardened plaque, also called tartar) under the gums that needs to be removed.
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Some treatments for gum disease are surgical. Some examples are:
• Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery. During this procedure the gums are lifted back and the tarter is removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. The gums are then placed so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth. This method reduces the size of the space between the gum and tooth, thereby decreasing the areas where harmful bacteria can grow and decreasing the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.
• Flap Root Planing:When periodontal pockets are too deep to access non-surgically, or if gingival inflammation is more severe, it is often necessary to expose the roots by gently peeling back the overlying gum tissue. This procedure is known as a flap. Local anesthetic is administered the same as for non-surgical root planing.
• Gingival curettage : gingival curettage consists of the removal of inflamed soft tissue lateral to pocket wall.