Gum disease can be a serious issue if it is allowed to progress. If diagnosed early, treatment is relatively simple and non-invasive. However, later stages of gum disease require more complicated treatment, including oral surgery such as gum grafting. Your dentist or periodontist will determine the severity of the problem and recommend the most suitable approach to treatment.
Treatment for Gum Disease
There are several stages to gum disease, and if it’s diagnosed early, it can be treated fairly easily. In the early stages, usually referred to as gingivitis, your gums become inflamed and can bleed when you brush and floss. As gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, or more extensive inflammation and infection in the gum tissues, treatment becomes more complex.
If you have gingivitis, your periodontist might recommend a toothpaste with baking soda, or a topical treatment using baking soda and peroxide. Other approaches, such as prescription mouthwashes or antibiotics, might also help reduce the inflammation and restore your gums to normal. More advanced gum problems might require deep cleaning, also called planing and scaling. This involves removing bacteria and infected tissue below the gum line. The root of the tooth is also smoothed out, reducing the uneven surfaces where bacteria like to collect. In advanced stages, the gums begin to recede from the tooth roots. This could require surgery to remove infected gum tissue or to graft in new tissue to shore up the gum line. This is different from gum surgery performed by a cosmetic dentist, which is usually focused on improving the ration between gums and teeth when you smile.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you have any symptoms of gum disease, you should bring them to your dentist’s attention. Common early symptoms include:
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Swelling in the gum tissue
- A red or purple tint to the gums
- A shiny look to the gum tissue
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Extreme, persistent sensitivity
Your dentist will evaluate the condition of your gums, then make a diagnosis and recommend treatment. If your issues are noticed and diagnosed early, you can avoid gum surgery.
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