Gum treatment

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Gum treatment

Gum treatment

Gum (periodontal) disease is an inflammatory disease caused by bacteria accumulation (dental plaque) above and below the gum line. It is a serious problem that must be addressed early so that teeth can be preserved. Signs of gum disease may include red, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breadth, gum recession, pain or discomfort in teeth, gums or soft tissues of the mouth, or loosening of teeth over time. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is a mild form of gum disease and is most common in adults. At this stage, the bacteria attack the soft tissues around your teeth, creating red, swollen or bleeding gums.

Gingivitis can be treated and reversed by professional cleaning and effective home care. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, affecting the supporting bone and ligaments of your teeth, resulting in loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. Uncontrolled gum disease has been associated with increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease.

You can prevent gum disease by brushing twice daily and flossing once a day. This should be complemented by scaling and root planning every 3-6 months to maintain healthy gums. In more severe cases, gum surgery may be recommended.

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What does the gum (periodontal) treatment involve?

Gum treatment may involve the following procedures:

  • Scaling and root planning is a deep-cleaning, non-surgical procedure, done under local anesthetic, whereby plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are removed and rough spots on teeth roots are made smooth. Smoothening rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to re-attach to the teeth. After the procedure, you may feel some discomfort for up to 48 hours.
  • Gum (Periodontal) surgery is recommended when there is a significant separation between the gum and the teeth. In this procedure, the gums are carefully reflected aside to reveal the true extent of infected calculus. In some cases, the shape of the bone around the infected teeth is shaped to speed up healing. In other cases, the bone and gum tissues can be re-created.
  • Gum and bone grafting may be performed to repair damaged gums and jawbone when the gums around the teeth have receded. Bone grafting can enhance areas of deficient bone to facilitate dental implant placement.

How long will the procedure take?

Depending on the severity of the gum problems, usually 2 or more visits are required. Simpler procedures take about 30 minutes. More complex procedures take up to 2 hours. If scaling and root planing is followed by gum surgery, the procedure may be spread out over several weeks to aid wound healing.

When will I be able to resume daily activities?

Most of our patients can resume normal daily activities within a few hours after our procedure. The less invasive procedures allow you to resume normal activities rapidly. However, the more extensive surgery may require some rest.

Will I be in pain?

Pain after the procedure is uncommon. Pain occurring after a procedure is usually a result of pre-existing infection. If you do experience pain, please take the prescribed medication by our dentist.

My gum bleeds frequently. What should I do?

Gum bleeding is commonly caused by gingivitis (gum inflammation) and can be controlled by regular dental check-up and cleaning. A routine dental check-up will also help rule out other non-dental related causes of gum bleeding.

When should I see a Periodontist (Gum Specialist)?

People in their twenties should be examined by a periodontist at least once every 4 years. People in their thirties or older, a periodontal examination should be done once in 3 years. This is in addition to other routine dental check-ups. Periodontal disease does not cause pain in the early years and it is most easily treated when discovered early. Scaling and root planing should be continued every 3-6 months to maintain healthy gums.

Do unhealthy gums lead to other health problems?

Research has shown that untreated gum disease is correlated to diabetes, heart and blood vessel diseases, stroke, pregnancy complications, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and some types of cancers. Mouth infections may also increase the risk for those who are undergoing other types of surgery. For example, patients with heart valve defects are commonly warned by their doctors to take antibiotics before dental or surgical procedures so that the bacterial disruption in their mouth will not travel through the bloodstream to infect the heart valve.

What can I do to prevent gum disease?

Regular brushing, flossing twice daily and regular visits to the dentist for scaling and polishing twice a year is recommended. When gingivitis is present, a thorough scaling and root planning by the dentist followed by good home care will keep the gum disease in check. If there are misaligned teeth or crowded front teeth, orthodontic treatment to correct the alignment can be helpful. Impacted wisdom teeth that do not enough room to erupt are also best removed early to minimize the occurrences of gum inflammation or tooth decay. Prevention is better than cure. By the time the supporting bone around the teeth is lost, extensive gum treatment by a periodontist will be needed.

My front teeth are exceptionally long. Is this normal?

Before any treatment can be recommended, the cause of these exceptionally long teeth must be determined. Our dentist will perform a thorough dental examination and X-rays needs to be taken to assess the dental condition and rule out any underlying problems. Gum disease is seldom symptomatic but can show up as exceptionally long teeth in which the bone and gums that support these teeth are destroyed, resulting in more root surfaces being exposed and longer looking teeth. If the diagnosis is receding gums, one option is gum grafting where gum tissue is added to the receded area. If the gums are healthy, full ceramic crowns may be prescribed to shorten those teeth. However, root canal treatment may be required if the teeth are to be shortened substantially. Braces may be another solution to align your front teeth to the same level. Our dentist will discuss the various options, their risks and benefits to you so that the most appropriate treatment can be prescribed.

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