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The treatment of gum disease is a specialized area of dentistry that includes a whole array of options. Here are some of the things that your dentist will consider in order to treat your gums effectively.

Gum disease, also called as periodontitis, is a very widespread condition that is seen across the world. It can vary in severity, clinical presentation, and the rapidity with which it progresses. The fact that gum disease does not start to get painful until it has progressed significantly also results in neglect by the patients which can cost them heavily down the line [1].

The treatment for gum disease varies as per the clinical presentation of the disease. It can be as simple as bleeding gums treatment or may require the use of multiple gum surgeries with the use of grafts and membranes.

The aim of gum disease treatment is to stop the active infection in the mouth and leave the patient with gums that they can keep healthy through regular brushing alone [2].

Here are some options that your doctor may consider for the treatment of gum disease.

Non-surgical options for gum disease treatment

Scaling and root planning

The first option that all dentists will make use of is scaling and root planning. Irrespective of the severity of the disease, a thorough scaling and root planning of the tooth surfaces is a must before the gums can be properly evaluated.

The process of scaling and root planing removes the plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and reduces the inflammation of the gums [3]. As a result, the gums ‘shrink’ back to their original size.

In mild gum disease where significant damage had not occurred, this return of the gum tissue to its original state may be all that is required to be done.

It should be remembered that while scaling and root planing may not be sufficient for elimination of the gum disease alone, no further treatment is possible without this step being completed [4].

Medicated mouthwashes

There are a number of mouthwashes on the market and they may claim to be new or innovative and bring something completely different to the table. The fact of the matter remains that all of these are marketing add-ons designed only to sell their product.

The main ingredient in most mouthwashes that are geared towards patients suffering gum disease is chlorhexidine. The concentration of this biological molecule is either 0.12% or o.20% but that is about the only difference [5].

The use of chlorhexidine mouthwashes is an excellent way to maintain as well as treat mild forms of gum disease. Bleeding gums treatment almost always includes the use of a chlorhexidine mouthwash [6].

Antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Gum disease has been found to be an infectious disease in origin. It is caused by certain kinds of micro-organisms that are found in low numbers inside our mouths normally but that increase in number dramatically under suitable conditions.

These micro-organisms elicit an inflammatory response from the body’s immune system that is responsible for the destruction of gums and associated structures.

These are the reasons why the use of antibiotics like metronidazole [7], doxycycline [8], amoxicillin [9] and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and tenoxicam [10] have been tried to treat gum disease. The results of these therapies have been encouraging and may help in reducing the need for surgical treatment in some cases.

Surgical options for gum disease treatment

 If gum disease has progressed from its mild stages to a more advanced form then flap surgeries may be necessary for the resolution of the gum disease. Usually, surgeries are carried out when the pockets around the gums have become deeper than 5m or there is evidence of significant bone loss which requires the use of bone grafts [11].

The kind of surgery used to treat gum disease is called a flap surgery. Its extent will vary according to the number of teeth involved and may be carried out only in the specific regions of the jaws or be required to treat all the teeth.

The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia and is done on an outpatient basis. The surgery will take about 25-40 minutes from start to end and stitches will be needed to close the wound. The idea behind the surgery is to provide direct access to the deeper structures that have been damaged by gum disease, eliminate any areas where micro-organisms may be flourishing, and possibly carry out some regenerative procedures as well.

Flap surgery is considered to be necessary for moderate to advanced gum disease only and does not form a part of routine procedures like bleeding gums treatment.

Conclusion

The treatment of gum disease is highly varied and has to be tailored according to each and every patient. The one thing that does not change is the fact that early detection and intervention is the only way to prevent the need for invasive procedures.

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