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dental implants and gum disease

How To Treat Gum Disease – Protect & Heal Your Gums

If you have gum disease, you’re not alone. 90% of adults in the UK have some gum disease [1].

Depending on your stage of gum disease, it can be treated, managed and even reversed.

However, ignoring the symptoms like bleeding gums can allow gum disease to develop and advance to periodontitis.  This includes aggressive periodontitis and chronic periodontitis.

Causing more than swelling, this degree of gum disease can cause tooth loss and gum recession.

Treating gum disease can in fact save money by saving on the cost of implants or later dentures.

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The best treatments for periodontal disease

 “47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.” [2]

Treatments for gum disease vary from non-surgical procedures that prevent bacteria growth to surgeries that aim to restore supportive connecting tissues like gums and bones.

Non-surgical treatment options

Professional dental cleaning:

If you are displaying symptoms of advanced gum disease, we would recommend undergoing professional dental cleaning more than twice a year.

Plaque and tartar

A dentist or hygienist, like Niloufar Ghavami, will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Plaque is a thin, sticky bacterium that constantly forms over teeth, if not cleaned; this hardens to tartar, which can only be removed in a professional dental environment.

Please do not attempt to remove plaque on your own.

During this cleaning session, we will ensure that plaque and tartar are removed from above and below the gum line of all teeth.

Our hygienists offer a choice of using or not using a drill for scaling and root planing.

Whilst dental cleaning is not a treatment for active gum disease, it is, however, an important measure to prevent the development of the disease from progressing.

Scaling and root planing

This is a deep-cleaning procedure that is often performed under a local anaesthetic. Here, you can expect plaque and tartar to be removed from above and below the gum line (scaling), then the rough spots on the tooth are made smooth again (planing).

By smoothing these rough spots, the bacteria are effectively removed and a clean surface is provided for the gums to reattach to the teeth.

This treatment will likely be recommended by a dentist or periodontist if plaque and calculus (tartar/hardened plaque) has formed under the gum line, which will need to be removed.

Dentist tools and mouth open with beautiful teeth

Surgical treatments for gum disease

Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery:

  • During this procedure, the gums will be lifted back so that tartar can be effectively removed. Irregular surfaces present on the damaged bone will also be smoothed to limit the areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide.
  • The gums will then be positioned to snugly fit around the tooth.
  • This will effectively reduce the size of the pockets (space) between the tooth and gum.
  • This will also in future, help to reduce the areas where harmful bacteria can grow and thrive and decrease the health risks involved with periodontal disease.

Bone grafts

Using fragments or scrapings of your own bone, or synthetic bone, the dentist can replace any bone lost or depleted by gum disease.

Gum disease patients typically experience bone loss in the jaw, and when a tooth has been lost, this, unfortunately, encourages further bone loss. See also sinus lifts.

Hence bone grafts are important procedures for patients looking to replace their missing teeth with dental implants. See the consequences of ignoring missing teeth here.

You can also ask us about a new technology called tissue engineering, which encourages your own body to regenerate bone and tissue at a faster pace.

Soft tissue grafts

award winning dentist SurreyThe procedure aims to reinforce thin gums, or to technically fill in the spots where gums have receded. Grafted tissue is taken from the root of the mouth and stitched in place, thus adding new tissue to the affected spot.

Guided tissue regeneration:

This is often prescribed when the bone that had been supporting the teeth has been destroyed. Therefore, this procedure aims to stimulate bone and gum tissue growth.

Completed and carried out often at the same time as flap surgery, a small mesh-like fabric is placed between the bone and gum tissue, to prevent the gum from growing into the area where the bone should be.

This allows the bone and connective tissue to restore and better support teeth.

Bone surgery

This is to smooth shallow craters found in the bone, again due to bone loss. After flap surgery, bone in the mouth that surrounds the tooth is reshaped.

This will make it harder for bacteria to collect and grow.

Important information

 Please note, that some patients can easily be treated with nonsurgical procedures like root scaling and planning.

Whereas, surgery will only really be required when the gum tissue around the teeth is extremely unhealthy and cannot be restored with nonsurgical devices.

Want to know which treatment you will qualify for? Or what will be the best solution to your condition? Talk to us.

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References

[1] https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/thebirminghambrief/items/2015/05/nearly-all-of-us-have-gum-disease-28-05-15.aspx

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/periodontal-disease.html#:~:text=47.2%25%20of%20adults%20aged%2030,and%20older%20have%20periodontal%20disease.

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