Establishing and maintaining good oral hygiene is critical to one’s oral structure, function and comfort. When harmful oral bacteria remains in the mouth for an extended period of time, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Left untreated, the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, can progress into advanced gum disease, which is called periodontitis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of all American adults over the age of 30 suffer from periodontitis. Unfortunately, few of these individuals get the treatment they desperately need, and so tooth loss is common. However, periodontitis can not only be prevented through proper oral hygiene habits, it can also be treated so as to prevent tooth loss from occurring.
Gum disease occurs when harmful oral bacteria remain in the mouth either because teeth are not brushed and flossed at all or because they are not brushed and flossed properly. Individuals who suffer from gum disease tend to experience red, swollen and bleeding gums, and can be cured of this condition by establishing proper oral hygiene habits, including twice daily brushing, once daily flossing and twice yearly visits to the dentist’s office for professional examinations and cleanings.
When gum disease is not addressed and resolved, bacteria continues to build up until it creates a more severe condition–periodontitis. At this point, gum tissue is not the only thing affected, but the bone and ligaments that support your teeth are also harmed. This is why many individuals who suffer from periodontitis tend to lose their teeth. Fortunately, even when it has advanced quite far, periodontitis can still be treated and resolved.
Conventional periodontal treatment includes:
- Non-surgical handling with tooth scaling and root planing. Using special dental tools, your dentist scrapes your tooth and root surfaces in order to remove plaque and tartar, then smoothes the surfaces of the tooth in order to prevent bacteria from easily re-attaching. Depending upon the extent of the periodontitis that is being treated, your dentist may suggest that your tooth scaling and root planing take place over several visits, and with local anesthetic administration, in order to ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout the process. After your gums have had time to heal and reattach to the teeth, your dentist will perform an examination to determine whether further treatment is necessary.
- Surgical handling with pocket reduction. Where tooth scaling and root planing has been unsuccessful in fully resolving your periodontitis issues, your dentist may consider whether pocket reduction is appropriate. During this surgery, your dentist will fold back the gum tissue, remove infectious bacteria and smooth any areas of damaged bone so that the gum tissue can heal and reattach.
- Surgical handling with gum grafts. Where gum recession has exposed tooth roots, your dentist may want to perform gum grafts. He will take gum tissue from your palate or another source and use this to cover the exposed roots, thereby reducing sensitivity, protecting roots from decay and stopping further gum recession.
- Surgical handling with regenerative procedures. Where bone has been destroyed by periodontitis, your dentist may use a bone grafting procedure in order to eliminate bacteria and place natural or synthetic bone into the area with tissue-stimulating proteins so that your body will be able to regrow bone and tissue.
Once a patient has experienced any sort of periodontal treatment, it is absolutely essential that they maintain strict oral hygiene habits thereafter in order to prevent a flare-up of their periodontitis. Your dentist will take the time to go over your oral hygiene habits and what you can do in order to improve them further. They may even recommend certain products in order to help reduce the quantity of harmful oral bacteria in your mouth.
For more information about periodontal treatments provided by Today’s Dental, contact us now.