Gum Disease - Treatment Overview
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
- Keep your teeth clean by brushing two times a day and flossing
one time a day.
- See your dentist regularly for checkups and
- 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
If you have
a milder type of
gum disease (gingivitis ), you may be able to reverse
the damage to your gums:
- Brush your teeth two times a day, in the morning and before
- 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,
Dental Care: Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth.
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
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
advanced gum disease (periodontitis ). 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
dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar
both above and below your gum line. This procedure, called
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:
which removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of the pockets
between the teeth and gums where plaque can build up.
flap procedure, which cleans the roots of a tooth and
repairs bone damage.
- Extraction, to remove loose or severely
- 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.