Periodontal Disease Treatment Options
Periodontal disease is an aggressive infection caused by a buildup of bacteria. The bacteria starts by attacking your gums, causing them to recede from your teeth.
Left untreated, it will work its way deeper and eat away your teeth before making it down to the supporting bone. Here, the infection will deteriorate your bone. Before you know it, your teeth will be brown or black and become loose. If you don’t seek gum disease treatment at this point, your teeth will begin falling out due to a lack of support.
Seeking treatment for periodontal disease as soon as possible is essential for your overall health. Here are some of the most important things you need to know about gum disease, including how it’s treated, what to look for, and how to prevent it.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
While damage from periodontal disease is generally irreversible, there are several treatment options for it — both with surgery and without it.
Non-surgical Treatment for Gum Disease
When periodontal disease is caught early, it can be treated using non-invasive methods. Non-surgical treatment is preferred as early detection and treatment are quicker, less uncomfortable, and relatively inexpensive compared to surgical treatment.
Scaling and Root Planing
Periodontal scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, is the first step a periodontist will take to fight gum disease.
The scaling part of the procedure involves using tools to break up and remove plaque and tartar from beneath your gum line. The planing portion uses a separate tool to smooth the underside of your gums to discourage bacterial growth and promote reattachment of your gums to your teeth.
Pocket irrigation is a treatment where the periodontist uses special tools that spray water and antiseptics beneath your gum line to remove any plaque or bacteria that shouldn’t be there.
It is more beneficial as a cleanse after scaling and root planing than as a treatment by itself. Nevertheless, we wanted to include it because pocket irrigation is an important step in the periodontal disease treatment process.
In some cases, antibiotics can be used to treat gum disease, but they are most often used in conjunction with other treatment methods. This further inhibits bacterial growth beneath the gums.
Last treatment for gum disease is a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment option. It is commonly known as LANAP® laser treatment. It targets infected tissue to help get rid of harmful bacteria and promote the growth of healthy, stronger gums.
It's a relatively painless procedure and patients heal quickly from it, especially when compared to surgical treatment options.
Surgical Treatment for Gum Disease
When periodontal disease progresses, the only effective way to treat it is with surgery. There are a few different surgical procedures associated with treating periodontal disease that you may want to see a periodontist for.
With pocket reduction surgery, a periodontist removes a portion of your gums to access and clean out the bacteria trapped beneath them.
Once everything is thoroughly cleaned, your gums will be stitched back to your teeth. This reduces the size of your gum pocket and lets them grow in a much healthier environment.
Periodontal disease attacks your gums, teeth, and bones that support your teeth.
Unfortunately, our gums won’t naturally regrow after gum disease treatment. Because of this, when bacteria eat away at your gums, the teeth are left in a vulnerable state since they help hold your teeth in place.
To solve this problem, a gum graft is often required to replace damaged gums.
If you have severe gum disease or have gone more than a couple of months without a tooth, your jawbone is most likely already decaying.
Like gums, supporting bones won’t generally regrow on their own after periodontal disease. To promote growth, and give teeth or dental implants support, bone grafting may be recommended by your dentist.
If a tooth is too damaged to save, it will need to be extracted before restoration can begin.
First, you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, part of your gum will be cut away from the tooth to allow for easier removal. After that, the tooth is removed using dental pliers.
How to Know if You Need Periodontal Treatment
If you regularly go to the dentist for checkups and cleaning, your dentist should catch early signs of periodontal disease.
However, if it’s been a while since your last visit, you should keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
Sore or Tender Gums
Gums Easily Bleeding (especially when brushing)
Pus in Gums or Between Teeth
Loose Teeth or Tooth Loss
New Spaces Between Teeth
Discomfort When Brushing
While some of these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have gum disease, they are all considered abnormal. You should report any symptoms to your dentist as they all indicate a problem.
What Happens After Gum Disease Treatment?
After you have been treated for gum disease, you will need to schedule regular visits for periodontal maintenance. These appointments will occur every three to four months. They allow for thorough cleaning and early detection of periodontal disease returns.
If you have periodontal disease once, you are much more likely to get it again. This is why meticulous home care and routine cleanings are vital.
How to Prevent Needing Gum Disease Treatment
The best thing you can do to avoid needing gum disease treatment is to practice proper oral hygiene. This means flossing your teeth at least once per day and brushing them at least twice daily.
The next step you can take to avoid needing periodontal disease treatment is scheduling regular dental cleanings. We recommend a visit every six months to catch any problems before they have a chance to progress.
Beyond these two crucial preventative measures, you should:
Stay away from tobacco products
Avoid grinding your teeth (sleep with a mouth guard if you do)
Talk to a dental professional if you think you might have TMJ disorder
Why Is Gum Disease Treatment Important?
Treating gum disease is important because allowing it to progress can lead to serious health problems. Not only can it cause jawbone degeneration and tooth loss, but it can also lead to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other life-altering problems.
Periodontal Disease Treatment Cost
Without a comprehensive dental exam, including x-rays, there is no way to accurately estimate how much periodontal disease treatment will cost.
Expenses vary based on how much damage the infection has caused. If caught early, treatment is relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, advanced gum disease treatment could involve sedation, tooth extraction, or multiple surgeries.
Will Insurance Cover the Costs of Gum Disease Treatment?
Most insurance providers will cover a portion of periodontal disease treatment. However, you should check with your respective company to see if your specific policy covers it and how much.
You can also look into getting periodontal insurance. It tends to cover more than a traditional dental policy when it comes to treatment for gum disease.
Gum Disease Treatment in Fremont, CA
If it has been more than six months since your last dentist appointment, or if you think you have gum disease, book an appointment today! It is important to identify it as soon as possible so we can stop it in its tracks.