- »

Monday, February 28, 2011

Gum Disease? All About Its Treatment

Bad breath and bleeding gums are often associated with periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease. Periodontal disease occurs when the pockets around the gum tissue begins to widen and gums begin to recede. As the pockets get deeper, the risk of bacterial infection increases and the gums continue to wear down over time. The good news is that periodontal disease can be treated with several dentistry procedures. If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, here’s what you need to know about your treatment options:

Dental Treatments for Periodontal Disease

Periodontists may sue a combination of minimally-invasive procedures and surgery to treat gum disease, and your treatment plan will depend on the amount of time that has passed since your last root planning and cleaning procedure, and the extent of the damage. Some of the most commonly used dental procedures for gum disease include:

Pocket Reduction Procedures

Gum Regenerative Procedures

When you are pursuing treatment for gum disease, the first step involves measuring the depth of the pockets around your teeth. The dentist or hygienist will use a special measuring tool to determine how deep the pockets are, and what level of tartar deposits are embedded between the teeth and gums. In order to bring your teeth and gums back to a healthy state, the dentist will need to scrape away the tartar deposits and massage the gums back in place so that they can reattach to the tartar-free bone.

Over time, the gums will begin to tighten around the teeth and reduce the risk of bacteria getting into the bone. Reduced pockets and daily oral hygiene can help prevent serious health problems associated with gum disease, and also ensure you have a healthier smile.

Laser Dental Treatments for Gum Disease
Many cosmetic dentists and periodontists now use laser technologies to perform scaling and root planning procedures. Some research shows that lasers can improve results and reduce the risk of extensive tissue damage to the gums during the scaling and root planning process. When the right wavelength of laser energy is used on the patient during periodontal therapy, there may be less swelling, discomfort and bleeding. In most cases, the insurance company will cover the costs of the treatment for laser dental treatments in the same way as a non-laser treatment.

Cosmetic Procedures for Treating Periodontal Disease

In addition to the corrective and regenerative procedures available for treating gum disease, a periodontist may recommend a set of cosmetic procedures to enhance your smile and improve the functioning of the teeth and gums. Common cosmetic procedures for those who are being treated for gum disease include:

Ridge Augmentation
Soft Tissue Grafting
Crown Lengthening

If you have lost a tooth because of excessively receding gums or periodontal disease, you may also be referred to a cosmetic dentist for dental implants. Dental implants help to restore your smile and can replace one or more teeth without affecting the bordering teeth. You can choose from endosteal implants (in the bone) or subperiosteal (on the bone) depending on the health of your gums and the quality of the existing teeth.

Learn more about the latest dental treatments in our information guide, or consult with a cosmetic dentist in your area to find out if you are a good candidate for treatments for gum disease.