As mentioned in the previous blog the cause of gum disease is the bacteria present in dental plaque producing toxins which destroy the gum support around the teeth.
Therefore the cornerstone of treatment of gum disease is the removal of the plaque and tartar-which is hardened,calcified plaque -from around the teeth and gums.This is done on a daily basis by the patient by tooth brushing and interdental cleaning and in the dental surgery by scaling and polishing.
When a patient is initially diagnosed with gum disease the treatment is firstly to remove all the plaque and tartar particularly from under the level of the gums.This may be done over several visits to minimise the length of the appointments thereby reducing discomfort.Sometimes it is necessary to give local anaesthetic to allow pain free thorough cleaning.
By doing this we give the gums a chance to recover and heal therefore improving the prognosis of the teeth.Patients should notice an improvement in their gum health after a course of treatment ie reduced gum bleeding and inflammation ,reduced pain and tenderness.
It is critical for patients to move onto a maintenance phase after the initial treatment of gum disease.This usually involves regular visits for scalings and oral hygiene instruction and motivation usually every 3 months or so initially .
Gum disease can go through active and passive phases throughout life.In other words gum disease can be aggressive for a certain time and then show little change for years.We aim to keep the periodontal condition as stable as possible for as many years as possible .Gum disease can worsen with age as the immune system can drop off or patients have predisposing conditions such as diabetes or have habits such as smoking .
Sometimes treatment of gum disease is beyond the scope of dental practice and requires referral to specialists where amongst other options periodontal surgery is sometimes necessary.We will discuss this in the next blog.