Periodontal treatment is incredibly important when a person suffers from gum disease.
The gum is the tissue that supports and surrounds each tooth. However, the gum does not snugly fit around the tooth. In fact, there is a small space in between that dentists call "sulcus."
If plaque on the teeth is not removed, the bacteria from the plaque will move downwards into the sulcus and eat away at the tissues. The body’s natural defenses will react by making the gums swollen. When this occurs, the person has reached a stage that is called gingivitis. If gingivitis is ignored, the bacteria will continue eating away the gum tissues, and an infected space around the tooth will be formed. The size of this space, which is also called the pocket, indicates the severity of the bacterial infection. The bigger pocket means that the infection is more severe. If the pocket is large enough, the tooth will simply fall out, and the gum disease is now called periodontitis.
Periodontal Decay Symptoms
A person should not wait until a tooth falls out before addressing the development of gum disease. An early diagnosis of the periodontal disease will mean a faster and easier recovery.
A person should also not wait for gingivitis to develop before seeing a dentist. In fact, regularly seeing a dentist can prevent the development of gum disease. Regular dental visits can also detect a gum disease, even without outward symptoms showing.
Some of the symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, tender and swollen gums, a redness that does not fade, unshakable bad breath, experiencing bad taste from an otherwise delicious food, loose permanent teeth, wider spaces between the teeth and gum, and changes in one’s overall bite.
There are two types of periodontal treatment: non-surgical and surgical. Non-surgical periodontal treatment is performed in two stages. The first stage involves scaling and root planning. The dentist removes the tartar and cleans the root surfaces. With the help of a laser, the bacterial toxins are removed from the pockets. The second stage is called adjunctive therapy. The teeth are given anti-microbial medications to heal the infection. The length of this therapy will depend on the extent of the periodontal disease.
When the non-surgical periodontal treatment does not lead to healthier teeth and gums, the dentists resort to periodontal surgery. The three common periodontal surgeries are: 1) pocket reduction; 2) regeneration; and 3) soft tissue grafts.
Pocket reduction surgery is conducted when the pockets are too deep for regular dental cleaning. The dentist will need to fold back the gum tissue in order to clean all of the infected areas. When all the bacteria are removed, the tissue is put back in place.
A regeneration procedure is chosen when the teeth have lost so much bone that they need to be removed. Then, the dentist will place bone grafts or proteins that will stimulate the mouth to regenerate the lost bone and tissue. Soft tissue grafts are used when the roots have been exposed due to the receding gum line. The dentist will take gum tissue from the palate and place it around the exposed roots.
Results of Periodontal Treatment
The overall result of periodontal treatment is a healthier set of teeth surrounded by healthy gums. To maintain this level of health, a person should practice proper dental hygiene.