Catch Gum Disease in Its Early Stages

by | Apr 3, 2013 | Health

If you have sore or sensitive gum, bad breath, loose teeth, frequent bleeding, or receding gums, you may be suffering from periodontal disease, and you should visit a Cedar Park dentist right away. Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, starts off as gingivitis, caused by the bacteria in plaque. As gingivitis advances, the gum and bone start to separate from the teeth, causing pockets of bacteria to form and the gum to wear away; it eventually results in tooth loss. Besides plaque, other causes of periodontal disease include certain medications, illnesses such as HIV or diabetes, hormonal changes, and smoking. If you have a family history of gum disease, you should be especially on the alert for symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, a Cedar Park dentist offers multiple surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Mild cases can be treated with frequent cleanings, with patients undergoing more than the usual biannual cleaning sessions. Your dentist may also recommend a deeper cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing, which removes tartar both from the teeth and from below the gums. Root planing removes rough spots from the root, where bacteria tend to gather.

In some cases, a Cedar Park dentist may recommend prescription medication to curb the growth of bacteria. These can include powerful antibacterial mouthwash, antibiotics, and enzyme suppressants. Some drugs are used in conjunction with scaling and planing. After this procedure, antiseptic chips, antibiotic gel, and antibiotic microspheres may be placed in the pockets of the gums to reduce their size.

In severe cases of gum disease, a Cedar Park dentist may recommend surgery. These methods are usually a last resort and are used only if a patient does not respond to deep cleaning treatment. In flap surgery, a dentist lifts the gum, removes the tartar underneath, and then stitches it back more firmly around the teeth. In some cases, he may also smooth rough spots on the bone where bacteria can grow. Bone and tissue grafts involve taking bits of bone or tissue, either from elsewhere on your body or from a donation, and grafting it on to the places that have significant bone or tissue loss. A newer technology called guided tissue regeneration is often performed with flap surgery or grafts. In this procedure, a dentist places a small piece of mesh between the bone and the gum, keeping them from growing into one another and allowing both to regrow with more stability. In all types of surgery, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic.

The type of treatment a Cedar park dentist chooses depends on the severity and extent of the gum disease. If you are showing any of the signs of periodontal disease, talk to a dentist right away. Early treatment could save your teeth and be the difference between a cleaning and surgery.


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