Periodontal Disease Treatment Methods
- May 22 2017
What kind of treatment options are available for periodontitis?
The two main forms of periodontal disease, gingivitis and periodontitis, are caused by bacteria found in the plague that builds up on teeth. Proper brushing and flossing can remove a lot of the plague but what is missed can harden and form tartar, which requires a professional dental hygienist to remove.
With the milder form of gum disease, gingivitis, the gums swell, become red and can easily bleed, but there isn’t the problem of bone or tissue loss. Left untreated, however, gingivitis can become full-blown periodontitis. The gums actually pull away from the teeth, and pockets form that become infected. Once infection sets in, the immune system is activated and the combination of its response with the bacteria begins to break down bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. Without intervention, tooth loss can result.
Early diagnosis is important. Frequent bad breath, tender, swollen or bleeding gums are early warning signs, as is pain or discomfort when chewing. Loose teeth and receding gums are indications that simple gingivitis may be progressing to the more serious periodontitis.
Risk Factors for Periodontitis
Obviously, suffering from gingivitis makes the possibility of periodontitis more likely. Other factors that increase risk include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or menopause
- Drug abuse
- Inadequate nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
- Medications that reduce saliva
- Comprised immune system from treatments, such as for AIDS and cancer
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease
Common sense dictates that oral hygiene should always be a priority, but, when there are indications of infection and gum disease, consistent and thorough brushing and flossing should shoot way up on that priority list. Preventing the buildup of plague may take a few extra minutes each day, but this minor inconvenience is a small price to pay to prevent periodontal disease.
Treatment Methods for Periodontal Disease
There are a number of treatment options for periodontal disease and what your periodontist recommends will depend on how far advanced the disease is. First and foremost, the goal is to control the infection. Methods and procedures to stop the infection and prevent further damage include:
- Scaling – tartar removal using lasers or ultrasonic devices
- Root planing – smoothing root surfaces to discourage bacteria and tartar buildup
- Antibiotics – antiseptic chips, antibiotic gels, tablets or capsules
- Enzyme suppressants – low dose of medication, such as doxycycline, to control the body’s enzymes
- Flap surgery – to expose roots for deeper scaling and root planing
- Bone and tissue grafts – to replace bone and gum tissue lost to periodontitis
The importance of healthy gums cannot be overstated. Besides the pain and expense of dealing with infection, there is the risk of untreated periodontal disease leading to serious health issues, like stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Periodontal disease can be more easily treated when caught early. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis, please don’t delay calling for an appointment. Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality of dentistry possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction is our priority.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, just call (718) 793-6669.