Periodontic Treatment (Gum Disease)
What is Periodontal Disease?
Types of gum disease
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and can eventually lead to tooth loss and other health problems.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include diabetes, smoking, ageing, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse and certain medication use.
Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following.
Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation.
How is gum disease treated?
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keeps up good daily care at home. This may also include changing certain behaviours, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome.
Deep cleaning (scaling and root planning)
The dentist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planning. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planning gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.
Referral to a specialist periodontist may be necessary if the condition of the gums does not improve after having a deep clean.