Dental News

Options for Fighting Gum Disease

March 8, 2016

Learn how to fight mild to severe gum disease infections

Options for Fighting Gum DiseaseGum disease is an extremely common problem among American adults. In fact, according to the CDC, half of all Americans 30 and older have periodontitis, which is the more severe form of gum disease. This is very worrisome because gum disease can easily lead to tooth loss if not corrected.

Here’s how it happens:

When individuals don’t take good care of their teeth and gums, harmful bacteria can accumulate along the gum line and in the gum pockets. This triggers an inflammatory response as the body tries to get rid of the bacteria. Toxins are produced that cause further inflammation and infection, resulting in an early form of gum disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis is characterized by gums that are red (rather than pale pink), swollen, shiny, tender when touched, and/or bleed with gentle brushing. If nothing is done to fight the infection, gum disease can easily progress to periodontitis. In this more serious form of gum disease, gum and bone tissues are being destroyed on an ongoing basis, potentially resulting in loose or lost teeth.

The good news is, it is possible to treat gum disease and prevent it from coming back. Your treatment options will vary based on the progression of the disease, but here are the 4 main strategies.

Improved Oral Hygiene

At the first hint of gingivitis, you should respond by improving your oral hygiene. This is often all that is needed to conquer a minor gum disease infection. Start brushing twice a day and flossing once per day, and consider adding a plaque-fighting mouthwash to your routine. Remember, gum disease could easily come back if you let up on your oral hygiene in the future.

Routine Dental Cleaning

If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental cleaning, you need to visit the dentist. Only your dentist can remove tartar from along the gum line, which is a crucial step for fighting gum disease.

Root Scaling & Planing

If you have more serious gum disease symptoms, you may need to get a specialized dental cleaning called root scaling and planing. This is basically a deep cleaning for your teeth that delves deep into the root pockets to clear out plaque, tartar, and bacteria. The dentist may also plane or smooth the roots of your teeth to make it more difficult for plaque to adhere beneath the gum line, and make it easier to prevent gum disease from returning.

Surgical Treatments

In the case of a severe gum disease infection that has already caused significant damage to your teeth and gums, your dentist may recommend various surgical treatments such as pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, or bone grafts.

Need Help Treating Gum Disease?

If you are worried about a gum disease infection, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our experienced dentists right away.

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