Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a serious oral health condition that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. If you leave it untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other health problems. It’s important to understand the causes, symptoms, and gum disease treatment options in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
This is the earliest and most common form of gum disease. It is characterized by inflammation and bleeding of the gums, but the bone and connective tissue supporting the teeth are not yet affected.
This is a more advanced form of gum disease that occurs when gingivitis is not treated. It affects the gums, bone, and connective tissue supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss.
This type of gum disease is characterized by rapid destruction of the gums and bone supporting the teeth, even in people who practice good oral hygiene. It is often caused by a genetic predisposition or certain medical conditions.
This type of gum disease is characterized by inflammation and destruction of the gums and bone supporting the teeth, but the progression is generally slower than aggressive periodontitis.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This is a rare but severe form of gum disease that can affect people who are immunocompromised, such as people with HIV/AIDS or cancer patients. It is characterized by the death of gums, connective tissue, and bone.
Periodontal disease can be a complex condition that can affect people differently, so it’s important to consult with a dentist or periodontist for an accurate diagnosis and gum disease treatment plan.
Can Gum Disease Be Cured?
Unfortunately, gum disease cannot be permanently cured, but it can be treated and managed. With proper oral hygiene, regular check-ups, and professional cleaning, the progression of gum disease can be slowed or even reversed in its early stages. However, once the bone and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed, they cannot be regenerated.
Gum disease treatment options include:
- Professional cleaning and scaling to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and roots
- Antibiotics to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation
- Surgery to remove infected tissue and smooth the roots of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar
- Bone and soft tissue grafts to help regrow bone and tissue that have been lost due to gum disease
- Medications to help control inflammation and promote healing
We always remind our patients not to take any medications, especially antibiotics, without a prescription from their dentist. Overuse of this drug may lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria development, making it harder for you to manage your gum disease. It can also trigger unwanted side effects, like allergic reactions, diarrhea, and nausea.
What Is Gum Disease Treatment?
Gum disease treatment is a process used to manage and improve the health of the gums and teeth. The exact gum disease treatment plan will depend on the severity of the condition, but common options include:
- Scaling and Root Planing: This is a non-surgical procedure involving the removal plaque and tartar from the teeth and smoothing the roots of the teeth to prevent plaque from accumulating in the future.
- Medications: Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, or antimicrobial medications may be prescribed to help fight infection and reduce inflammation in the gums.
- Surgery: In advanced cases of gum disease, surgery may be necessary to repair damage to the gums and bone. Common surgical procedures include flap surgery, bone and tissue grafts, and regenerative procedures.
- Lifestyle Changes: Quitting smoking and tobacco use, maintaining a healthy diet, and practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease from worsening.
- Regular check-ups: Regularly visiting your dentist or periodontist for check-ups and cleanings can help to detect and prevent gum disease.
Gum disease is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management and maintenance, so it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions and keep up with regular check-ups and cleanings.
Types of Gum Disease Surgery
As mentioned, gum disease surgery is a treatment option for more advanced cases of periodontal disease, where the gums and bone supporting the teeth have been significantly affected. The goal of gum disease surgery is to remove bacteria and infected tissue from the gums and to restore the health of the gums and supporting bone.
Some common types of gum disease surgery include:
- Flap Surgery: This procedure involves lifting the gums away from the teeth to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of the teeth. Then, the gums are sutured back in place to promote healing.
- Bone Grafts: In some cases, the bone supporting the teeth has been lost due to periodontal disease. When this happens, a bone graft may be necessary to help regrow the bone. A small piece of bone, usually taken from another part of the patient’s body or a cadaver, is placed into the area where the bone has been lost.
- Tissue Grafts: Tissue grafts are used to replace missing gum tissue. Tissue can be taken from the roof of the mouth or from a tissue bank and then grafted onto the affected area to help regrow the gum tissue.
- Regenerative Procedures: Newer regenerative procedures can help to promote the growth of new bone and tissue, such as the use of platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
Gum disease surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia or IV sedation and can be done in multiple visits depending on the procedure. Recovery time varies depending on the procedure, but patients can expect some swelling and discomfort after surgery. Your dental care provider will provide instructions on how to care for yourself after the surgery and will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process.
How Much Does Gum Disease Treatment Cost?
The cost of gum disease treatment can vary depending on the condition’s severity and the specific gum disease treatment plan. Some common gum disease treatment options and their approximate cost ranges include:
- Scaling and Root Planing
This is a non-surgical procedure that can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 per quadrant (one-quarter of the mouth), with a full mouth treatment averaging around $500 to $3000.
The cost of gum disease medications will depend on the specific type and dosage prescribed. Antibiotics, for example, can range from $5 to $50 per prescription.
The cost of surgery can vary widely depending on the specific procedure and location. Flap surgery, for example, can cost anywhere from $1000 to $4000, while bone and tissue grafts can range from $3000 to $7000.
- Dental Insurance
Dental insurance can help cover the cost of gum disease treatment, but the coverage will depend on the specific plan and the treatment being done.
- Payment Plan
Some dental offices offer financing plans or payment plans to help make gum disease treatment more affordable. It’s always a great idea to ask the dental office if they have any financing options available.
Gum Disease Treatment at Home
While gum disease is best treated by a dentist or periodontist, there are steps you can take at home to manage the condition and improve your oral health. These include:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day: Brushing helps remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums. We recommend you use a soft-bristled toothbrush, as using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause damage to the gums.
- Floss daily: Flossing your teeth helps get rid of plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, which a typical toothbrush can’t reach. This can help to remove plaque and bacteria that can cause inflammation and infection in the gums.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash: Antiseptic mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. This can help to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth, helping to reduce inflammation and infection in the gums.
- Use an antimicrobial rinse: Some rinses contain active ingredients that help to reduce bacteria in the mouth and, therefore, can help to reduce inflammation in the gums.
- Quit smoking and tobacco use: Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco can damage the gums and make it harder for them to heal. Quitting smoking and tobacco use can help to improve the health of the gums and reduce the risk of gum disease.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean protein can help support overall oral and overall health. A healthy diet can provide the nutrients the body needs to fight infection and inflammation, which can be beneficial for the gums.
- Keep your regular check-ups: Regularly visiting your dentist or periodontist for check-ups and cleanings can help to detect and prevent gum disease. Your dental professional can provide more detailed cleaning and scaling and can identify any early signs of gum disease that may require further gum disease treatment.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a result of tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth, and tartar is hardened plaque that can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. When plaque and tartar are not removed through regular brushing and flossing, they can cause inflammation and infection in the gums.
Other factors that can contribute to gum disease development include:
- Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly can increase your risk of gum disease.
- Smoking and tobacco use: Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco can damage the gums and make it harder for them to heal.
- Hormonal changes: Menopause or pregnancy-related hormonal changes can increase the gums’ sensitivity to plaque and tartar.
- Genetics: Due to their genetic composition, certain people are more prone to developing gum disease.
- Certain medical conditions: People with diabetes or other medical conditions that affect the immune system may be at a higher risk of developing gum disease.
- Medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth, which can contribute to the development of gum disease.
Gum disease is a progressive condition, and it can be prevented and managed with proper oral hygiene, regular check-ups, and professional cleaning.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
This condition can progress without showing any symptoms, so it’s important to be aware of the signs of gum disease, so you can seek gum disease treatment early.
Symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Tenderness or pain in the gums
- Pus between the teeth and gums
It’s important to note that some of these symptoms may also be caused by other oral health problems, so it’s important to consult with your dental professional to determine the cause and the proper gum disease treatment plan.
What to Expect Before and After Gum Disease Treatment
Before gum disease treatment, you can expect to have a thorough examination of your gums and teeth by a dental professional or periodontist. They may also take X-rays or other imaging tests to determine the severity of the disease and plan the appropriate gum disease treatment.
During the examination, you should inform your dental professional of any medical conditions you have and any medications you are currently taking.
Depending on the stage and severity of the gum disease, treatment options may include professional cleaning and scaling, antibiotics, surgery, or a combination of these. Your dental professional will discuss the recommended gum disease treatment plan with you, including the risks and benefits, and answer any questions you may have.
After the gum disease treatment, your dental professional will provide you with instructions on how to care for your gums and teeth during the recovery period. You should follow these instructions carefully to promote healing and prevent infection.
Recovery time varies depending on the type of gum disease treatment and the severity of the disease, but you can expect some swelling and discomfort after the treatment. You may also be prescribed pain relievers or antibiotics to manage pain and prevent infection.
You should also schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process and keep up with good oral hygiene. It’s important to keep in mind that gum disease is a chronic condition and requires ongoing management and maintenance, so it’s important to stick to a consistent oral hygiene routine and keep your regular check-ups.
Gum disease is a serious condition that can result in the loss of teeth and other complications if left untreated. It’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease and seek treatment as soon as possible. Gum disease treatment may include professional cleaning, antibiotics, or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.
If you need help with gum disease in Bradenton, Parkwood Dental is ready to help. We offer emergency dental services and provide preventative care to help you maintain good oral health and reduce the risk of gum disease. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!