Q:

What are some treatment options for gum disease?

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Quick Answer

Several treatment options are available for gum disease, according to WebMD. Which treatment is used will depend upon the patient's state of health, response to previous treatments and how far the gum disease has progressed. Treatments for gum disease can be surgical or nonsurgical, depending on the severity.

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Full Answer

Nonsurgical treatments include dental cleaning, and scaling and root planing. During a dental cleaning, plaque and tartar build-up above and below the teeth's gum line will be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Another nonsurgical treatment, scaling and root planing, involves both scraping away plaque and tartar, and smoothing out rough places on the teeth where bacteria might be hiding. By creating a smooth surface, planing also makes it easier for gums to reattach to teeth.

Surgical treatments include flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue and bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and bone surgery. Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery involves lifting the gums to remove the tartar underneath. During this process, bone smoothing is sometimes done to reduce bacterial growth. Guided tissue regeneration may be performedwith this surgery, by which a fabric mesh is put between the gum and bone to guide the growth of gum tissue. When gum disease destroys bone, bone grafts are sometimes administered. This technique uses the patient's bone, donated bone or artificial bone as a replacement. These grafts allow new bone to grow. With soft tissue grafting, tissue from another part of the mouth, usually the roof, is stitched in where the gums have receded severely. In some cases, bone surgery is needed to reshape and smooth bone around teeth, making bacterial growth more difficult.

In some cases, antibiotics are used to treat gum disease. Antibiotics can help the tooth stay attached to the bone and reduce harmful bacteria.

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