What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gum line that can in turn cause damage to the teeth’s connective tissue and the bone, leading to loss of teeth.
The bacteria in the mouth along with mucus and other particles form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on the teeth. Gum disease develops when the plaque is allowed to build up, along and under the gum line.
Types of Gum Diseases
The two common diseases that can affect the gums are:
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place here the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. It can be removed by taking care of the gums and teeth by brushing and flossing properly on a daily basis.
The patient will contract periodontitis if gingivitis is not treated properly. In periodontitis, gums are pulled away from the teeth and spaces or pockets are formed. The infection can affect these pockets and damage the bone and the connective tissue holding the teeth and in turn loosening the teeth.
Periodontal Bacteria, usually found in the mouth, is a cause for most cases of periodontitis. They become harmful when the right conditions prevail, like the presence of plaque.
Symptoms of gum disease
The different symptoms that are found in gum diseases are:
Tender or Bleeding Gums
Recurrent Swelling of gums
Deep pockets between the teeth and the gums
teeth that are loose or appear to have shifted
Gum diseases are usually treated depending on the extent of the disease. The periodontist might recommend a Non-surgical treatment and will opt for a surgical treatment only if the symptoms are unbearable for the patient or if the disease’s extent.
Non-surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
The periodontist will recommend the following non-surgical treatments:
Professional Dental Cleaning
The dentist will remove the plaque and tartar from the gumline, both above and below. If there are signs of gum diseases, the dentist might recommend professional dental cleaning twice a year. This therapy can only prevent gum diseases and is not a treatment option.
Scaling & Root Planing
In this non-surgical method, the plaque is removed through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. In Scaling, the tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped off, while in Root planing, rough spots on the tooth root where the germs or bacteria gather are removed. Both these procedures are performed under local anesthesia. The dentist will prescribe professional dental cleaning twice a year.
Plaque and tartar are also removed using laser technique resulting in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Surgery is needed when the tissue around the teeth is unhealthy or inflamed and deep pockets remain even after treatment with nonsurgical options.
Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery.
During this procedure, the tartar deposits in the deep pockets are removed by lifting back the gums. The gums are then placed back into place later. After surgery, the gums will heal and fit more tightly around the tooth thus reducing the spaces where harmful bacteria can grow.
This procedure is recommended for patients whose bones were destroyed by periodontal diseases, which are then rebuilt using fragments of existing bone or synthetic bone. These bone grafts restore stability to the teeth and support the regrowth of the bone. Tissue engineering is a new technology that encourages the body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue at a faster pace.
Soft tissue grafts.
This procedure is performed when the gum tissue is lost due to gum recession. Here, a soft tissue is taken from the patient’s palette or from a donor. These tissue grafts are stitched into place to cover the exposed roots. It reduces further gum recession and bone loss.
Guided tissue regeneration.
This procedure is usually performed d in combination with flap surgery to stimulate bone and gum tissue growth by placing a small piece of biocompatible fabric between the bones and gum tissue. This helps bone and connective tissue to regrow.
After a flap surgery, the bone around the tooth will be reshaped to decrease the craters making it harder for the bacteria to grow.
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore