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How Is Gum Disease Treated?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64.7 million adults in America have some form of gum disease. There are multiple stages of this disease that include gingivitis, which is the earliest manifestation, and periodontitis, the most severe form. Early detection of this condition is critical so that more treatment options are available. When the disease progresses for too long, the teeth may start to loosen and eventually fall out. At this point, patients cannot save the teeth and full-mouth restorations must be considered. Fortunately, there are gum disorder treatments that are effective for many patients, and tooth loss can often be avoided.
Common gum disease treatments
With advances in dentistry, more treatment options are available than ever before. There are conservative choices that can be utilized in the earliest stages of the disease while different courses of action may be taken for advanced cases.
Scaling and root planing
A deep-cleaning, which is called scaling and root planing in the dental community, is a procedure that can be performed by a dentist or dental hygienist. It involves the use of special instruments known as scalers to remove harmful plaque and calculus. An ultrasonic scaler is often used since this device sprays water and helps to flush out destructive bacteria around the gums.
Scaling and root planing is usually the first line of defense for early to moderate forms of gum disease. The clinician may take X-rays before and after treatment to ensure that all calculus, the hard substance that irritates the gums, has been removed from the teeth during the process.
Laser dentistry has become popular in recent years due to its minimal invasiveness and ease of use. Patients with all stages of periodontal disease can often benefit from this process, and it can be done in multiple sessions if needed. The side effects of this method are often mild, and patients have a much shorter recovery time than with traditional surgical interventions. The laser is used to remove plaque, bacteria and calculus from under the gums.
Alternative treatments such as laser therapy have largely reduced the amount of periodontal surgery performed, but it is still necessary in some cases. In this procedure, the gums are folded back from the teeth so that the root surfaces are exposed. The dentist can then remove the harmful plaque and calculus that are adhering to the tooth below the gumline.
Periodontal treatments have come a long way in recent years, and patients have more access to care than ever before. For those who suspect they have gum disease, an appointment with a dentist is recommended so that all treatment options can be discussed. The procedures are chosen on a case-by-case basis since each patient is unique. Regular maintenance appointments after initial gum disease therapy are critical for long-term success. It takes a dedicated effort between the patient and dentist to get the teeth and gums back to good health and to keep them that way.
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