Oral bacteria are typically kept in check with thorough oral hygiene. But improper oral hygiene can allow that bacteria to flourish and create an inflammatory infection of the gums called gingivitis. If the gingivitis is left untreated, the infection can progress to the more advanced infection periodontitis.
While gingivitis can often be treated with a simple teeth cleaning and improved hygiene, advanced periodontitis requires aggressive treatment. The longer periodontitis is left untreated, the more severe the treatment method becomes.
Here are the potential treatment options for advanced periodontitis.
Scaling and Root Planing
Periodontitis inflammation can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets are breeding grounds for more bacteria and potential infection. Cleaning out these areas involves two procedures: scaling and root planing.
Scaling involves cleaning harmful plaque and tartar off the surface of the tooth that's below the gums and near the roots. Root planing involves removing the tartar and plaque from the actual roots. Your dentist will also smooth the edges of the roots to make it harder for bacteria to cling onto the surface.
Both procedures involve a mixture of traditional, hand-held dental tools and ultrasonic equipment. This ultrasonic equipment is able to use vibrations to knock loose the plaque and tartar, particularly in the below gum areas where it's difficult for the dentist to see.
In early stages of advanced periodontitis, scaling and root planing might be enough treatment to fix up the problem. The gum pockets will shrink on their own once the bacteria is removed. In later stages, scaling and root planing can serve as an early step in a surgical process.
Gingival Flap Surgery
The plaque and tartar buildup on the roots might be so severe that your dentist can't remove the harmful material without seeing it. That means the gums need to open up further to give the dentist better access to the roots and that involves gingival flap surgery.
Gingival flap surgery involves your dentist cutting the gums away from the teeth and pulling the pockets wide open. Ultrasonic and traditional dental tools are then used to thoroughly clean the roots and surrounding area.
Once the roots are clean, your dentist will pull the gum pockets tight and stitch the gums back around the teeth. The stitches will typically wear off on their own in a short period of time.
Advanced periodontitis can attack the ligaments that hold teeth in place. If that attack is allowed to continue, the ligaments can loosen enough that the teeth are at risk for falling out. If a tooth looks likely to fall out, your dentist might schedule an extraction to allow the loss to happen in a safe environment.
Once the tooth is extracted, your dentist will work to remove the bacteria that caused the loss. Then you can discuss dental replacement options. Dental implants are popular because the jawbone-embedded root offers stability and a close to normal feel when chewing.
For more information, contact Quality Dental Care or a similar location.