How Do I Treat My Periodontitis?

Dental_healthMore than 65 million Americans have some form of gum disease – a prevalence that now exceeds the number of Americans living with diabetes. Periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease, is caused by bacteria in the mouth that form plaque below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.

Periodontitis is a disease that has severe consequences for dental health, as it is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. If you have been diagnosed with it, you will need to partner with a team of dental health professionals to treat it. Here are some of the options that are utilized to treat periodontitis and bring this serious condition under control.

Non-surgical options for treating periodontitis

  • One of the leading options for treating periodontitis is scaling and root planing (SRP). During an SRP procedure, plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). It is performed in your dentist’s office under a local anesthesia. In conjunction with scaling and root planing your dentist or dental hygienist may use a special laser to reduce the bacteria count in the pockets surrounding the teeth.
  • Antibiotic and antimicrobial medical treatments maybe used in conjunction with SRP. These treatments can range from traditional oral antibiotics to special chips, gels and microspheres, that deliver additional disease-fighting power directly to the mouth surfaces that are impacted by periodontitis.
  • The LANAP Laser Periodontal Treatment uses a laser operating on a specific wavelength to remove unhealthy diseased gum tissue while leaving the healthy gum tissue intact. This leads to less bleeding during the treatment and less post-treatment stress on your gums.

Surgical options for treating periodontitis

  • Flap surgery – This is one of the more common surgical approaches to treating advanced gum disease. Under a general anesthetic, the gums are lifted away from the jawbone and plaque/tartar are removed. If the bone surfaces have become irregular or jagged, they are smoothed down. After the surgery, the gums fit more tightly around each tooth, leaving a smaller area (pocket) where bacteria can become trapped.
  • Bone grafts – If periodontitis has already destroyed a lot of bone in the jaw, a patient may need to receive bone grafts as they undergo flap surgery or another procedure.
  • Tissue regeneration – Another procedure that may accompany flap surgery is guided tissue regeneration, in which a piece of mesh fabric is inserted between the teeth and gums to keep gum tissue from growing where the bone should be.

“Periodontitis presents a huge challenge to dental health,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a Phoenix-based cosmetic dentist. “But your dental care team can help you get your teeth and gums on the road to recovery.”

 

 

 

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