Your Guide to Periodontal Disease Treatment Methods
Starting Your Journey to a Healthier Smile
When something affects half of all adults, we tend to pay attention. Whether it’s good or bad, we begin counting our odds and thinking of ways we can either increase or decrease our own chances of experiencing it. Periodontal disease is one of those things, as it impacts nearly half of adults aged 30 or older. This commonality, as well as the condition’s ability to slide under your radar and the lasting damage that it can do to your teeth and gums, make a daily oral hygiene routine and regular visits to your dentist more important than ever.
After all, the earlier gum disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat! Thankfully, there is a benefit to gum disease being so common — no matter what stage it’s at, there are a variety of potential treatments out there to help you reclaim a healthy, happy smile. It’s never too late to start that journey!
Which treatment is best for you will depend on how severe your gum disease is, but with a little work, your smile can be just as beautiful and healthy as ever. It’s natural to worry about what your gum disease treatment might involve, but you don’t have to take the journey to healthy gums alone.
We’re here to help you every step of the way! To help you learn more about what your periodontal disease treatment might involve, we’ve created a guide on different treatment methods and what they’re like.
Dental Cleaning Paired with Specialized Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Thankfully, cases of milder gum disease called gingivitis are relatively easy to treat. The first step in your treatment is a professional dental cleaning, which is the same type of cleaning you get during your regularly scheduled dental appointment. This cleaning is a vital step in your treatment because it removes buildups of plaque and tartar from your teeth. Your dental hygienist begins the cleaning process by scraping tartar from your teeth using a specialized tool.
This is necessary because tartar is plaque that has mineralized and bonded to the surface of your teeth, so it can’t be cleaned off without these specialized tools. Once your teeth are free of tartar, your hygienist will clean and polish your teeth using an electric brush and toothpaste that feels grittier than what you’re used to. They’ll then floss your teeth to clean along your gum line and between your teeth. Throughout each step of this process, they’ll rinse your mouth out and suction it dry to clear it of debris.
After your teeth have been cleaned, you’ll still need to take great care of your oral health at home to ensure that your gingivitis goes away. As a result, you’ll be sent home with instructions on how to care for your gum health at home, including brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using mouthwash.
Your gums might bleed when you floss for the first week or so, but if you stick to flossing every day, this should go away. If your gums are still bleeding after two weeks, you may need additional treatments to help your gums recover, so you should call Dr. Staley to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Staley might also recommend that you use specialized antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash that are designed to help fight and prevent gum disease. These products can give your oral hygiene routine the extra punch it needs to restore your oral health.
Deep Cleaning, Known as Scaling and Root Planing
For more severe cases of gingivitis or mild periodontitis, you may need a dental cleaning that goes deeper. Sometimes called deep cleaning, scaling and root planing are two treatments that are usually paired together. Dr. Staley begins this periodontal disease treatment by giving you a localized anesthetic to numb your mouth and keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. He then starts the scaling, which involves using specialized tools to clean bacteria from underneath your gum line to stop them from attacking your tooth roots and gum tissue.
The next step is root planing, which is a process where the roots of your teeth are smoothed out. This makes it harder for bacteria to attach to and grow on your tooth roots, ideally helping to prevent gum disease in the future. This deeper clean also helps promote healing for your gums where they have pulled away from your teeth, allowing them to reattach more quickly.
The treatment takes about one or two hours, depending on the severity and extent of your periodontal disease, but you should only need to undergo it once if you follow Dr. Staley’s aftercare instructions closely and adopt a great oral hygiene routine at home.
When periodontitis is very advanced, sometimes the only way to resolve the infection in your gums and restore the health of your gums is to perform a surgical procedure. This is simply because the infection is extensive and needs to be cleaned thoroughly, and may have caused permanent damage to your gums, teeth, or the underlying bone that needs to be repaired.
Flap reduction surgery is a common surgical procedure for advanced periodontitis that involves numbing your mouth and opening up your gums to clean your tooth roots directly, allowing for a more thorough cleaning than other methods. Dr. Staley then smooths out your tooth roots and closes your gums using dissolvable stitches. During this step, he’ll also close or reduce any pockets that have formed between your gums and teeth. These pockets tend to collect food and increase the likelihood that you’ll develop gum disease again, so closing them is an important step toward helping you keep your gums healthy in the long term.
If there’s lasting damage to your gums or jawbone from your periodontitis, Dr. Staley may also recommend restoring it using gum or bone grafts. These procedures use gum or bone tissue from your own body or external donors — or, in the case of some bone grafts, synthetic materials — to rebuild areas that have suffered damage.
Gum grafts can restore gum recession and help close deep pockets between your teeth and gums, protecting your tooth roots from decay and cutting down on symptoms like tooth sensitivity. Bone grafts help strengthen your jawbone by encouraging new bone to grow, which also protects your face shape.
If you lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease but don’t have enough bone density in the area for dental implants, bone grafts can make all the difference in your treatment. They reverse bone loss and give you the healthy bone density you need to get implants, restoring the appearance, function, and health of your teeth for years to come.
Antibiotic or Antifungal Medication
Regardless of the severity of your gum disease or what type of periodontal disease treatment you undergo, Dr. Staley may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication for you to take during your recovery process. These medications could be pills or they might be in the form of a mouthwash or topical gel that you put in the pockets of your gums.
They help your body to fight infections and kill off any lingering bacteria. This is beneficial for everyone, but it’s especially vital if you have a preexisting condition that makes you more vulnerable to infection. Additionally, by helping your body fight bacteria, these medications also help you heal better and faster — and that’s always a plus!
Gum disease treatments can transform your oral health, playing an essential role in keeping your gums, teeth, and jaws healthy for years to come. Plus, with so many different treatments available, you’re able to work with Dr. Staley to select the treatment that will provide the best results for you.
If you’d like to learn more about gum disease and which treatment may be best for you from a dentist Boise, ID, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Staley at any time.