Depending on the current stage of your gum disease, your overall health, and your response to earlier treatments, various treatment options may be applicable. These may range from non-surgical treatments intended to stop the growth of bacteria, to restoring supportive tissues via surgery.
Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatments
Professional Dental Cleaning – Plaque and tartar are removed from below and above the gum line during a routine dental visit. The procedure may be recommended to be done at least twice a year if you start to exhibit signs of gum disease. While the procedure is not one of the recommended treatments for active gum disease, it is a vital preventive measure.
Scaling and Root Planing – Performed under local anesthetics, the procedure is done by scraping away (scaling) tartar and plaque around the gum line, and smoothening (planing) the rough spots on the root of the tooth. Scaling and root planing may be recommended if your periodontist deems it necessary to immediately remove tartar and plaque around your gums before further damage can be done.
Surgical Gum Disease Treatments
Pocket Reduction/Flap Surgery – In this procedure, tartar is removed by lifting the gums back. Some cases may require smoothening of irregular surfaces on the affected bone to limit the areas where bacteria can thrive. The gum tissues are then fitted around the tooth snugly. The result is a reduced space between the tooth and gum, and effectively lessens the risk of periodontal disease.
Bone Graft – Using donated bone, synthetic bone, or the patient’s own bone, the bone ravaged by gum disease is replaced through a bone graft procedure. The graft acts as a platform for the bone regrowth that will eventually bring back the stability of the teeth.
Soft Tissue Graft – During the procedure, thin gums or gaps created by receded gums, are reinforced. The grafted tissue, usually taken from the palate, is stitched into place, effectively adding more tissue to the damaged area.
Guided Tissue Regeneration – The procedure is performed when the supporting bone of the tooth is severely damaged. Guided tissue regeneration stimulates gum tissue and bone growth, and is typically done in conjunction with flap surgery.
Bone Surgery – The procedure involves smoothening of the shallow bone craters caused by moderate to advanced stages of bone loss. After the flap surgery, reshaping is performed on the bone supporting the tooth to reduce the craters. Thus, it would be more difficult for bacteria to accumulate and develop.
In some cases of gum disease, non-surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing would be enough to curb the progress of the disease. However, in cases where the tissues that surround the teeth are unhealthy, and can no longer be repaired by non-surgical procedures, surgical gum treatments may be required.