In its early stages, gum disease can usually be corrected with better brushing and flossing, and perhaps some antiseptic mouthwash. Unfortunately, a lot of patients don't recognize the early symptoms of gum disease, and as a result, it becomes pretty severe before they begin treating it. If you have gum disease that is beginning to cause loose teeth, gum recession, and pockets in your gums, here's a look at three treatments your dentist might suggest.
When gum disease has been allowed to linger for a while, the gums often begin to recede, and tartar builds up below the gum line. As long as this tartar is present, fighting gum disease will be a real challenge, since the tartar harbors that bacteria that cause gum disease. Your dentist may recommend a procedure called dental scaling as a means of getting rid of the tartar below your gum line.
Dental scaling is essentially a deep cleaning procedure. It can be a bit uncomfortable, since your dentist will be poking and manipulating your already-sore gums in the process. Thus, a local anesthetic will likely be given to you before the procedure. After the dental scaling procedure, you may be a bit sore, but with proper tooth brushing and flossing, your gum disease should subside.
If your gum pockets are severe, they might not heal on their own and may perpetuate gum disease since plaque and food particles can get caught In them. Your dentist may recommend flap surgery to fix these issues. In this procedure, the gums are lifted away from the teeth to remove the tartar beneath them (as would be done in a scaling procedure). Then, portions of the gums are removed, and the remaining gum tissue is sutured together to allow a tighter fit around the tooth. Flap surgery is done under local anesthetic and will cause some discomfort in the days following surgery. However, this can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and eating soft foods.
Depending on the severity of your gum disease, your dentist may recommend antibiotics alone or in conjunction with one of the above treatments. These medications will help your body fight off the bacteria that are causing your gum disease. You may be given a topical or oral antibiotic, depending on your health and your dentist's preferences. It's important to remember that after you are done using antibiotics, you will have to keep up with your oral hygiene routine to prevent gum disease from coming back.
If you are suffering symptoms of advanced gum disease, such as pockets in the gums, severe bleeding during brushing, and loose teeth, visit your dentist as soon as possible. With the treatments above, recovery is likely—but you need to act quickly before you start losing your teeth.