Bacteria grow on your teeth and create a filmy coating called plaque. A build up of this plaque causes an inflammation of the gum tissue, known as
gingivitis. If gingivitis is left untreated, the plaque can extend under the gum line can create pockets around the teeth. Bacteria can collect in these pockets and cause regular inflammation and destruction known as periodontitis. Over time, this chronic inflammation and bacteria cause destruction of gum tissue, ligaments, and bones that hold your teeth in place.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A complete oral exam will be done. Periodontal disease can be diagnosed during an oral exam. Your dentist may do x-rays to determine how much damage has been done.
The goal of treatment is to stop the bacterial invasion. Further course of treatment depends on the severity and progression of the periodontitis.
Talk to your dentist about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
A cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing is done first. These will remove excess build-up above and below the gum line, and along the tooth root where bacteria thrive. In some cases, lasers can be used to remove plaque.
Your dentist may recommend antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection. Antibiotics may be given as:
Beads that are placed into the infected gum pockets
You may need surgery if your periodontitis doesn’t improve with deep cleaning or antibiotic treatment. Surgery may be also necessary to repair damaged gum tissues and bones. Surgical procedures include:
—Sections of gum tissue are opened to access the root of the tooth for deep cleaning. The gum tissue is reshaped and put back into position.
Bone and tissue graft—Tissue from another part of your body is used as a base to promote regrowth of healthy gum, bone, or connective tissue.
Enamel matrix application—A special gel is applied to the tooth root to stimulate growth of healthy bone and tissue.
—An artificial tooth is placed in the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge.
Periodontal (gum) disease: Cause, symptoms, and treatment. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated September 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.
Treatments. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed December 13, 2017.
What is gum disease? Know Your Teeth—Academy of General Dentistry website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated January 2012. Accessed December 13, 2017.
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