Aside from having strong and healthy teeth, it is important to ensure that our gums are in the pink of health. Our gums act as a barrier and supports our teeth, upholding and keeping them in place.
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a serious infection and inflammation of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth, primarily caused by bacteria that have been accumulating on your teeth and gums.
If you are experiencing swollen or bleeding gums, it is best to come in for a check-up for a peace of mind. After all, early diagnosis is key to a successful treatment.
Gum disease usually begins with bacterial growth in your mouth and if left untreated, may result in tooth loss due to the destruction of the tissue surround your teeth. If you are experiencing red, swollen or bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth, it is likely that you have gingivitis — a common and mildest form of gum disease, also more commonly known as gum inflammation.
During a routine dental check-up, your dentist will be able to detect early symptoms of gum disease by probing your gums with a small ruler. Depending on each individual’s condition, your dentist may also order for X-rays to be taken to check for bone loss. If your current condition is not too serious, your dentist will continue to monitor your symptoms during your dental visits every 6 months to ensure that it does not deteriorate. With proper care and maintenance by brushing and flossing regularly, it is possible to reverse gum inflammation through professional cleaning and good oral hygiene.
Gum diseases are treated in various ways, depending on the stage and severity of the disease, through
non-surgical treatment plans and surgical procedures.
Non-surgical procedures are less invasive, and they typically address and control bacteria growth. Surgical procedures on the other hand, aim to restore the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.
For mild to moderate cases, your dentist will likely recommend a non-surgical therapy to treat the disease. That said, for more advanced stages of gum disease, your dentist may have to recommend surgical procedures to help restore supporting tissues.
By using an ultrasonic scaling device to remove plaque, food debris and calculus above and below your gum line, it will help to prevent plaque accumulation on your teeth and the gums surrounding your teeth.
This is a deep-cleaning procedure that is done under local anaesthesia and is only required when calculus is deeply lodged onto your teeth and loss of attachment on your teeth has occurred.
Plaque and tartar along the root surfaces and below your gum line will be scraped away with the help of a special periodontal hand instrument. Additionally, any rough spots on your tooth root will be made smooth — this process is also known as planing. Smoothing the rough spots will not only remove bacteria, but also provide a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
If periodontitis continues to persist despite the initiation of non-surgical treatments, periodontal surgery will be recommended to access deeper pockets that can’t be reached through non-surgical methods.
Also known as pocket reduction surgery, the gums are lifted back to remove calculus from deeper pockets to stimulate periodontal tissue healing. The gums are then sutured in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth.
Bone grafting is a procedure that adds fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone or donated bone to replace and help regenerate bone growth, in areas where your teeth and jaw are too damaged to heal. This restores the secure attachment of the teeth to the bone.
This procedure helps to stop gum recession and improve the aesthetics of your gum line by strengthening thin gums or fill in places where gums have receded, and roots of your teeth are exposed. Grafted tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root.
Often done in conjunction with flap surgery, this procedure stimulates bone and gum tissue regrowth when the bone supporting your teeth is destroyed. During the procedure,
a special mesh-like fabric is inserted between the bone and gum tissue, promoting new bone growth by preventing the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone should be.
In cases of moderate to advanced bone loss, bone surgery will be required to smooth shallow craters in the bone caused by the bone loss. Following flap surgery, the bone around the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters to prevent bacteria growth.
Apart from the slight discomfort that may be caused by scaling and polishing, depending on the sensitivity of your teeth and inflammation of your gums, most of the gum treatment procedures involve the injection of local anaesthesia to the affected area to numb the site.
Like most dental procedures that involve the use of local anaesthesia, you will not feel pain during the procedure. After the treatment is complete, it is common to experience some discomfort and swelling for a few days after the anaesthesia wears off.