Manly Dentist Peter Heyworth

Gum Treatment

Gum Disease

Gum disease is known as the decay or corrosion of the gum line or the gums, otherwise known as periodontal disease.

This is the way that gum disease develops:

  1. Bacteria is always in our mouth, but when not cleared out on a daily basis, they multiply. The bacteria feed on the tiny remains of food on the teeth and gums and excreting acidic toxins.
  2. The bacteria and toxins are known as plaque. When plaque is left long enough on the teeth it hardens into what is known as tartar or calculus. When it gets to this stage, it can’t be brushed or flossed away.
  3. Tartar irritates the gums as we continue to chew and swallow, causing inflamation and bleeding. This is early gum disease or gingivitis
  4. If it is not treated, it will get worse and the gums pull away from the teeth. This creates larger and larger pockets, or gaps between gum tissue and tooth surfaces. Bacteria now multiply below the gumline.
  5. These large pockets provide more the idea environment for more bacteria. It creates a vicious cycle: bacteria multiply and create larger pockets, which allows for more bacteria to thrive and multiply, which enlarges the pockets even further.

If the gum disease advances it is known as periodontitis. As it gets worse it causes teeth to loosen and fall out and allows decay to spread into the jawbone. This causes pain as tooth nerves decay and die.

Periodontal treatments

The first step is to do a thorough dental examination, to check how advanced the gum disease is. The dentist will measure the periodontal pockets to see how deep they have become.

  • Root scaling and planing
    In the early stage of gingivitis, root scaling and planing can take care of things. This involves cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from deep pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. It will remove the plaque and tartar not only from the teeth, but from their root surfaces below the gumline. Gum inflammation, redness and bleeding will then ease off. After scaling and root planing no other further treatment should be needed. However, patients will require ongoing maintenance to maintain the overall health of the gums. Non surgical therapy does have its limitations. When it does not result in healthy gums, surgery may be required to restore gum health and to prevent further disease.

  • Laser treatment
    Use of a soft-tissue dental laser can reach bacteria in deeper pockets. It vaporizes them, along with any diseased gum tissue, and prevents bleeding by cauterizing the tiny blood vessels. This is a gentle treatment, not painful at all. Modern technology has introduced the use of lasers in periodontal therapy. They may be used as a replacement method instead of scaling and root plaining. It is said to improve the overall effectiveness of this procedure. Also, when lasers are used in periodontal therapy there can be less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort to the patient during surgery. However, lasers have wavelengths, and they can be unpredictable during surgery. This can cause damage to the gum tissue.
  • Gum surgery
    In very advanced cases of gum disease, a surgical procedure may be required to remove diseased gum tissue and bone. This is necessary when the dentist determines the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired without surgical treatment. The most commonly prescribed surgical treatments are pocket reduction procedures, regenerative procedures, crown lengthening, and soft tissue crafts. An advanced infection is particularly dangerous, as it can spread into the circulatory system, and thus to other parts of the body. Surgery can clean out all the bacteria, toxins and debris in gums and bone, and use some bone grafting techniques to replace lost bone.

The early treatment is essential in gum disease in order to prevent permanent tissue damage to the gums. It is also essential in preventing infection and tooth loss.

Ways to prevent this is to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth two times a day to keep them clean and to floss at least once a day. Make sure to make regular visits to your dentist for check ups and cleanings. Also, try to avoid tobacco use. Tobacco will reduce the ability to combat infection, it will slow down and interfere with healing and will give you a higher chance of having serious gum disease, that can result in tooth loss.