Gum Disease Treatment
Healthy gums provide a strong foundation for your teeth. If your gums are in poor health, you are at a higher risk of experiencing bad breath, dental discomfort, and tooth loss. At the Smile Center, Dr. Scott Parr and Dr. Tara Frey provide general dentistry services to prevent oral health problems and identify the early signs of gum disease and tooth decay. If we find that you have developed gum disease, we can perform effective treatment to restore the health of your gums. To learn more about the gum disease treatment options that we offer, contact our Virginia Beach practice today.
The Stages of Gum Disease
When gum disease first develops, it is known as gingivitis. In this early stage of the condition, patients may notice symptoms such as swollen gums, gums that bleed easily, gum discomfort, and bad breath.
If gingivitis is not treated, the condition progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a much more serious condition. In addition to the tenderness and inflammation of the gums, pockets of bacteria develop beneath the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth. Eventually, the teeth become loose, and either fall out or require extraction.
Fortunately, gingivitis is fairly easy to treat. In fact, in many cases, proper at-home care can improve the health of the gums. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use anti-bacterial mouthwash. After a few days of good oral care, you should notice that the swelling, discomfort, and bad breath subside.
Treatment for periodontitis is more aggressive than gingivitis treatment. In addition to exercising proper at-home care to improve the health of the gums and prevent gum disease from returning, patients will need to come into our office for additional treatment, such as:
- Root planing and scaling: Root planing and scaling, which is also known as a deep cleaning treatment, allows our dentists to remove plaque and bacteria that have accumulated beneath the gum line. First, we will administer a local numbing agent to prevent any discomfort. Then, we will use special instruments to clean the roots of the teeth. Once the built-up plaque and bacteria have been removed, we will smooth the surface of the roots to make it more difficult for plaque and bacteria to accumulate.
- Antibiotics: After the root planing and scaling treatment is complete, we may insert antibiotic fibers beneath the gum line. The antibiotics eliminate any remaining infection, and the fibers are removed after about a week.
- Gum surgery: If periodontitis is severe, we may recommend gum surgery. In flap surgery, or pocket reduction, the dentist pulls back the gums so plaque and bacteria can be thoroughly removed. The gums are then put back in place so they fit up against the teeth. If the gums have receded, you may require a gum graft, in which soft tissues are removed from one part of the mouth, and stitched into place where the gums have receded.
To find out if you suffer from gum disease, contact the Smile Center today.