Gum disease is a bacterial infection, so treatment focuses on removing bacterial buildup from your teeth and gums.
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The bacteria are found in dental plaque and in its hardened form, which is called calculus or tartar. As part of your gum infection treatment, you will almost certainly need to improve your oral care routine at home to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth regularly. The cleaner you keep your teeth and gums, the fewer bacteria remain to infect them.
“Periodontal disease affects 80% of American adults. Regular screenings and oral hygiene regimens can help to control it.”
Because the gum infection is caused by plaque and calculus buildup, the goal of treatment is to remove plaque and calculus thoroughly. Often, treatment is given by our team of talented and very gentle dental hygienists.
Scaling is a procedure that removes plaque and calculus from tooth surfaces and just below the gums. It is performed using special hand instruments or ultrasonic devices, or sometimes a laser. If you only have mild gum disease, the hygienist will polish your teeth gently to complete this treatment.
If you have moderate or more advanced gum disease, root planing is a process that smooths exposed tooth root surfaces. When these surfaces are smoother, it helps to discourage plaque and calculus buildup and removes the byproducts produced by bacteria that cause inflammation. Removing these products helps aid healing and makes it easier for the gums to reattach to your tooth surfaces, so your gums begin to fit more snugly around your teeth.
If the inflammation in your gums is severe, you may need gum infection treatment in the form of antibiotics. Sometimes antibiotics are placed topically into the pockets between your teeth and gums. Other times we may prescribe oral antibiotics.
As your gum disease is controlled, the gums gradually begin to fit more snugly around your teeth and to reattach to your teeth. However, because periodontal disease can cause so much damage to the gums, it can create problems with gum recession.
When gums recede, it can expose the tooth roots permanently, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Tooth roots are not protected with tooth enamel but instead are covered with a softer material called cementum that is more easily eroded. Also, receding gums can look unsightly.
There is a treatment available to reinforce damaged gum tissue and which is called gum grafting. Gum grafting is a surgical procedure where usually a small amount of tissue is removed from another area in your mouth and is grafted onto the affected site. Once healed, a gum graft can prevent further recession, covering exposed tooth roots and protecting them while creating a more pleasing appearance.
Sometimes the infection caused by periodontal disease can create a gum abscess, where a pocket of tissue becomes infected in your gums. It is a potentially painful condition creating a pocket of pus. A gum abscess may be gingival, affecting only your gums. A periodontal abscess can occur in the gap between your teeth and gums and is more commonly found in people with periodontal disease.
The main symptom of gum abscess is pain and swelling in the gum and which can make it painful to bite or chew food. You might notice a lump caused by the abscess. Other symptoms include:
Abscess gum treatment focuses on draining and eliminating the bacteria and any toxins in the area between your gums and teeth. If you have extensive plaque and calculus buildup and have signs of periodontal disease, we will want to remove these substances as part of your gum abscess treatment.
The abscess is drained by making a tiny incision in the swollen area to help eliminate the pus buildup. Usually, we will need to take a digital x-ray to see if the abscess has caused any damage to the underlying bone. A severe gum infection can cause bone loss and especially if you have had the gum abscess for some time. As a part of treatment, we often prescribe antibiotics for treating a gum abscess as they will kill the bacteria causing the infection and can prevent it from spreading or reinfecting your gum.
Even people who brush and floss their teeth regularly can benefit from updating their oral care routine. Most people still use the same techniques they learned as a child, and it is very easy to get into the habit of missing certain areas of your mouth.
Our hygienist can review your oral care routine with you and provide instructions and useful advice on how to keep your teeth and gums clean. We can give practical demonstrations on how to brush your teeth correctly, ensuring you clean all tooth surfaces thoroughly. It’s essential to brush your teeth at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste. Other tips on preventing or reducing the severity of periodontal disease include:
It is perfectly fine to use a manual toothbrush as when used correctly, it will remove plaque bacteria thoroughly. However, some people may benefit from using an electric toothbrush, which can be more effective. An electric toothbrush is easier to hold and manipulate and has useful built-in features such as a timer. It’s essential to brush your teeth for at least two minutes every time to ensure you clean all tooth surfaces adequately.
The contact areas between your teeth account for approximately one-third of all tooth surfaces, so it is essential to clean these surfaces every day to prevent gum disease as well as tooth decay. Daily flossing removes plaque and food debris trapped between teeth and when performed correctly, only takes a few minutes.
We realize many people struggle to floss effectively, and we can teach you the proper techniques for flossing. Alternatively, we can discuss other flossing tools that include interdental brushes or a water pik and which can be easier to use.
Our periodontists here at Gentle Dental can discuss all the gum disease or receding gums treatment options suitable for your situation. For more information about the best treatment for receding gums in Queens, contact Gentle Dental at (718) 461-0100.