Gum Disease Treatments

A gum disease is caused by toxins produced by the bacteria forming on teeth (plaque).  Fortunately, damage at the beginning stage of the disease is still reversible, because the disease process does not yet cover the supporting teeth and bone tissue.  Diseased gums start bleeding and are not pale pink, pink or bright red (the colors that are characteristic for healthy gums), but become bright or dark red, and even bruised.

Treatments for gum disease that don't involve surgery include:

  • Professional dental cleaning - procedure in which your dentist uses a variety of tools to help deep clean your gums and the surface of your teeth.  First, your dentist will use an ultrasonic cleaner and a water sprayer to loosen and remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.  Your dentist will then scrape additional plaque and tartar off your teeth by using a metal tool called a hand scraper.  You could feel mild discomfort during this part of the procedure.  Your dentist may also sand and smooth the roots of your teeth in order to remove plaque and other bacteria.  Finally, the dentist brushes your teeth with a rotary toothbrush and a gritty type of toothpaste that polishes and cleans your teeth.  After doing this, your dentist may floss your teeth or give you a fluoride treatment to strengthen them.
  • Scaling and root planning - deep cleaning, nonsurgical procedure, done under a local anesthetic.  During this procedures plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planning). Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.  Scaling and root planning is done if your dentist or periodontist determines that you have plaque and tartar under the gums that needs to be removed.

In some patients, the nonsurgical procedure of scaling and root planing is all that is needed to treat gum diseases.  Surgery is needed when the tissue around the teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with nonsurgical options.


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Arlington Heights, IL

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