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Does Periodontal Disease Treatment Really Works?

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By Author: James Franklin
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Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is treated in many ways, depending on the stage of the disease, how you have responded to previous treatments, and overall health. Following a thorough evaluation, treatment recommendations range from non-surgical treatments to surgical procedures. The former controls bacteria growth, while the latter restore the tissues supporting the affected teeth.

Periodontal Disease Non-Surgical Treatments

• Professional dental cleaning. In a conventional checkup, the dentist will remove tartar and plaque buildup on the tooth surface. Cleaning removes tartar and plaque from below and above the line of the teeth. If you are showing signs of gum disease, the dentist will most likely recommend dental cleaning at least twice a year.
• Scaling and root planning. This non-surgical, deep-cleaning procedure is done under local anesthesia. Hardened tartar and plaque are scraped away from below and above the gum line. Rough spots on the tooth are also made smooth, which removes bacteria and gives a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
• Customized. There are times when plaque and gum tissue inflammation can be resolved without the need for surgery. In such cases, antibiotics can be placed in the periodontal pocket – the space between the teeth and gums.

Periodontal Disease Surgical Treatments

• Soft tissue grafts. Soft tissue grafts strengthen thin gums as well as fill in places of receded gums. The graft tissue is usually taken from the roof of the mouth and is then stitched in place.
• Bone Grafts. This treatment uses synthetic bone, donated bone, or fragments of your bone to help bone regrow in areas that are destroyed by periodontal disease. This aims to secure the attachment of the teeth to the bone. Another procedure called tissue engineering makes the body create new tissue and bone.
• Pocket reduction surgery/flap surgery. In this procedure, the gums are lifted to remove tartar. There are cases where the damaged bone’s irregular surfaces are smoothed. The gums are then replaced so that tissue snugly fits around the tooth. By reducing the space between the tooth and gums, space is limited where bacteria can grow, limiting the chance of serious health problems from periodontal disease.
• Guided tissue regeneration. This procedure is performed when the bone that supports the teeth is already destroyed and stimulates the gum tissue and bone growth. When done with flap surgery, a small mesh-like fabric is inserted between the gum tissue and bone to keep the gum tissue from growing in areas where bone should be. This allows the connective tissue and bone to regrow and support the teeth better.
• Bone surgery. This type of surgery smoothens the shallow craters in the bone brought about by the moderate or advanced bone loss. After flap surgery, the bone surrounding the tooth is reshaped to lessen the craters, making it harder for bacteria to accumulate and grow.

For some patients, the non-surgical procedures root planning and scaling is enough to treat gum disease. Surgery is only needed once the tissue surrounding the teeth has become unhealthy and therefore cannot be repaired using non-surgical options.

Antibiotics can be used either alone or in combination with surgery and other forms of therapy. Antibiotics reduce or even temporarily kill the bacteria causing periodontal disease. These medications can also prevent the damage of the attachment of the tooth to the bone.

Periodontal Disease Treatment Special Preparations

Your dentist should be able to perform most of the procedures above in their clinic. The time that the need to do the treatment, time needed to heal, and degree of discomfort can vary from patient to patient. Other factors to consider are the kind and extent of the procedure and your overall health. Some treatments might necessitate local anesthesia or medication to numb the treatment area and help you relax.

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