Gum Treatments (click on this link to watch a video on Periodontal Disease)
There are a variety of treatments for gum disease depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your
Treatments range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues.
Non-surgical Treatments for Gum Disease (click on this link
to watch a video on the Scaling & Root Planing Procedure
Treatments for gum disease that don't involve surgery include:
- Professional dental cleaning. During a typical checkup your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar (plaque
that builds up and hardens on the tooth surface and can
only be removed with professional cleaning) from above and below the gum line of all your teeth. If you have some signs of gum disease, your
dentist may recommend professional dental cleaning more
- Scaling and root planing. This is a deep-cleaning, nonsurgical procedure, done under a local anesthetic, whereby plaque and tartar
from above and below the gum line are scraped away
(scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface
for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Scaling and root
planing is done if your dentist or periodontist determines that you have plaque and calculus (hardened plaque, also called tartar) under the
gums that needs to be removed.
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Some treatments for gum disease are surgical. Some examples are:
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery. During this procedure the gums are lifted back and the tarter is removed. In some cases,
irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit
areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. The gums are then placed so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth. This method reduces
the size of the space between the gum and tooth, thereby
decreasing the areas where harmful bacteria can grow and decreasing the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal
- Bone grafts. Involves using fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone to replace bone destroyed by gum disease.
The grafts serve as a platform for the regrowth of bone,
which restores stability to teeth. New technology, called tissue engineering, encourages your own body to regenerate bone and tissue at an
- Soft tissue grafts. This procedure reinforces thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded. Grafted tissue, most often
from the roof of the mouth, is stitched in place,
adding tissue to the affected area.
- Guided tissue regeneration. Performed when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed, this procedure stimulates bone and
tissue growth. Done in combination with flap surgery, a
small piece of mesh-like fabric is inserted between the bone and gum tissue. This keeps the gum tissue from growing into the area where the
bone should be, allowing the bone and connective tissue to
regrow to better support the teeth.
- Bone surgery. Smoothes shallow craters in the bone due to moderate and advanced bone loss. Following flap surgery, the bone around
the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters. This makes
it harder for bacteria to collect and grow.
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 your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired
with nonsurgical options.