As with any dental treatment, periodontal treatment aims to return your gums to full health in the least invasive and most cost-effective way possible. In the case of gum disease, this is accomplished through the use of non-surgical treatments. Whenever possible, Dr. Mabry will use these non-surgical treatment methods to combat gum disease and return you to full oral and dental health.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease occurs when the gum tissue has become inflamed by the presence of plaque and tartar below the gum line. The more mild form of gum disease is known as gingivitis. This form of gum disease does not cause the loss of any tissue or bone.
When left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. In this type of gum disease, the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and forms pockets that can then become infected. As the bacteria continue to spread and grow below the gum line, the bone and connective tissue that holds the teeth in place will begin to break down. If left untreated, periodontitis will eventually destroy the gums and teeth.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
The symptoms of gum disease can vary from patient to patient, but may include:
- Persistent bad breath that is unrelated to diet.
- Gums that have become red and swollen
- Gums that feel tender or that bleed
- Pain when you chew
- Teeth that have become loosened
- Receding gums, or teeth that appear longer
Scaling and root planing
If your gum disease is mild, scaling and root planing may be enough to completely treat your gum disease. This treatment carefully cleans the surfaces of your tooth roots, removing plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets. It also smooths the tooth root to remove any bacteria that remain. In most cases, you may also be given antimicrobial medications, depending on the severity of your gum disease.
In order to ensure that you remain as comfortable as possible during your treatment, this deep cleaning will generally be done on one quadrant of your mouth at a time. A combination of a small hand scraper and dental laser may be used in order to clean the teeth and gums. Some patients may experience some mild discomfort or increased sensitivity following their appointment, though this should not be prolonged. If you know that your teeth and gums are sensitive, discuss this with Dr. Mabry before beginning treatment.
In addition to scaling and root planing, medications may be prescribed to complete a course of non-surgical gum disease treatment. These medications may include:
- Prescription mouth rinse – this is used just like regular mouthwash and will help control bacteria growth following treatment.
- Antiseptic chip – this small piece of gelatin is filled with medication that controls bacteria growth and reduces the size of the periodontal pockets that have formed. It will be placed in one of these pockets and will release the medication over time.
- Antibiotic gel – this gel is placed in the pockets following treatments and will work in the same way as an antiseptic chip.
- Antibiotic micro-sphere – this will be placed into a periodontal pocket after root planing and scaling. It works in the same way as the antiseptic chip.
- Enzyme suppressant – this controls the body’s natural enzyme response that can break down your gum tissue. It is given in tablet form.
- Oral antibiotics – these tablets or capsules are taken by mouth to eliminate a persistent or acute periodontal infection.
Is non-surgical gum treatment effective?
In most cases, patients will not require surgical treatment following scaling and root planing, unless your gum disease is very advanced. While non-surgical is generally effective, it will not eliminate gum disease in every case. Some patients will still require surgical treatment.
If you have any questions about the non-surgical gum disease treatment that we offer, or if you suspect that you have gum disease and would like to find out if you are a good candidate for non-surgical treatments, contact our office today for a consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.