Early treatment of gum disease is very important. The goals of treatment are to prevent gum disease from permanently damaging tissues, control infection, and prevent tooth loss. For treatment to be effective, you will need to:
- Keep your teeth clean by brushing two times a day and flossing one time a day.
- See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid all tobacco use. Tobacco decreases your ability to fight infection, interferes with healing, and makes you more likely to have serious gum disease that results in tooth loss.
Treatment for mild gum disease
- Brush your teeth two times a day, in the morning and before bedtime.
- Floss your teeth one time a day.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash, such as Listerine, or an antiplaque mouthwash.
For more information on how to care for your teeth, see:
Your dentist will want to see you for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional cleaning can remove plaque and tartar that brushing and flossing missed. After you have had gum disease, you may need to see your dentist every 3 or 4 months for follow-up.
Your dentist may prescribe Reference antibiotics to help fight the infection. They can be put directly on the gums, swallowed as pills or capsules, or swished around your teeth as mouthwash. Your dentist may also recommend an antibacterial toothpaste that reduces plaque and gingivitis when used regularly.
Treatment for advanced gum disease
Milder types of gum disease (gingivitis) that are not treated promptly or that do not respond to treatment can progress to Reference advanced gum disease Opens New Window (Reference periodontitis Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window). Periodontitis requires prompt treatment to get rid of the infection and stop damage to the teeth and gums, followed by long-term care to maintain the health of your mouth.
- Your dentist or Reference dental hygienist Opens New Window will remove the plaque and tartar both above and below your gum line. This procedure, called Reference root planing and scaling, makes it harder for plaque to stick to the teeth.
- Your dentist may give you antibiotics to kill bacteria and stop the infection. They may be put directly on the gums, swallowed as pills or capsules, or inserted into the pockets in your gums.
- You may need surgery if
these treatments don't control the infection or if you already have severe
damage to your gums or teeth. Surgery options may include:
- Reference Gingivectomy, which removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of the pockets between the teeth and gums where plaque can build up.
- A Reference flap procedure, which cleans the roots of a tooth and repairs bone damage.
- Reference Extraction, to remove loose or severely damaged teeth.
- After surgery, you may need to take antibiotics or other medicines to aid healing and prevent infection.
After treatment, you will need to keep your mouth disease-free by preventing plaque buildup. You will need to brush carefully and thoroughly after all meals and snacks and floss daily. Your dentist will probably prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash.
Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments regularly for cleaning and to make sure that the disease has not returned.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 5, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry