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Non-surgical treatment of gum disease is the first option that a dentist will take and in some cases, it may be all that is required. Here is where non-surgical treatment of gum disease is most effective, how it works, and what it includes.

Gum disease is one of the most widespread oral diseases around the world [1]. It begins as ‘gingivitis’ or an inflammation of the gums and then progresses to ‘periodontitis’ or the inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth. Gum diseases eventually progress from symptoms like bleeding gums to teeth becoming loose and falling out, spaces appearing between teeth where there were none before, and even complete loss of teeth [2]. Needless to say, bleeding gums treatment is easier to seek then that for advanced gum disease.

Thankfully, the treatment of gum disease can be minimally invasive, affordable, and very effective at halting the advancement of gum disease if performed at the right time.

Non-surgical treatment for gum disease

In what condition can gum disease be treated non-surgically?

Most people want to avoid a surgical treatment option if they can, especially when it comes to their dental health. They would be then glad to know that mild to moderate gum disease can be treated non-surgically without compromising the outcome.

The clinical and radiologic evaluation of the dentition will help the dentist determine what stage the gum disease has progressed to. Typically, pocket depth measured up to 5mm can be treated non-surgically [3]. If, however, there is a need to perform regenerative surgery using bone grafts or soft tissue grafts then a surgical approach must be taken.

How is gum disease treated non-surgically?

The reason behind the occurrence of gum disease has been identified as plaque accumulation on the teeth [4]. Plaque is a living, breathing biofilm which forms instantly on the teeth and over a period of time transforms from a harmless entity into a disease-causing one. Brushing regularly allows the removal of plaque and keeps it from becoming disease-causing [5].

People that have poor oral hygiene, poor dexterity, medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease that make them more susceptible to infections, or those that are genetically prone to developing gum disease are the ones that will start developing pockets around their teeth.

These pockets act as safe harbors for plaque accumulation since the brush cannot reach so deep and clean it out. Thus, left untreated, these pockets continue to accelerate the progression of the gum disease [6].

Non-surgical treatment of gum disease involves the use of scalers and curettes to clean the surfaces of the teeth, the roots, as well as the inside of the pockets to eliminate all the disease-causing micro-organisms. This is somewhat similar to bleeding gums treatment that people often seek but with an added appointment or two for ‘deep cleaning’ [7].

Is Non-surgical treatment for gum disease painful?

There is little to no pain involved with non-surgical treatment for gum disease. Scaling does not require any anesthesia at all. Depending upon the level of oral hygiene, it may be carried out in either one or two sittings. Scaling concentrates on the part of the teeth that is visible in the mouth. It does not clean the root surfaces or the inside of the pockets.

A procedure called root planning is carried out for the removal of plaque and tartar from the root surfaces. This procedure is what is commonly called ‘deep cleaning’. It is carried out under local anesthesia and may require an additional couple of appointments after the completion of scaling [8].

Usually, the curettes used for root planning also scrape the insides of the pockets during the procedure and that is enough to clean out the pockets as well [9].

There is no need for any stitches after the completion of scaling and root planning.

Maintenance after non-surgical treatment of gum disease

One of the most important phases of treatment actually begins after the active phase of non-surgical treatment has been completed. Stopping the active infection is just the beginning, it is equally essential for the patients to maintain a good level of oral hygiene after the treatment has been completed.

Patients will be directed to use a medicated mouthwash, brush twice a day, maybe floss, and come in for a professional cleaning every six months [10]. These are all things that are very easy for people to follow for a short while but the real benefit comes in following a strict oral hygiene regimen over a long duration.

Hopefully, this will result in a decrease in the pocket depths to somewhere around 3mm which can be easily maintained by the patient by regular brushing. Non-surgical treatment of gum disease and its maintenance afterward is considered as the gold standard in the treatment of gum disease and no other method has been found to be as effective or predictable in its results.

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