Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is It Possible to Reverse Gum Disease?

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease and is characterized by swollen gums that may bleed when you brush or floss. It is caused by bacteria building up along the gum line as these bacteria produce toxins that gradually inflame and infect the gums. At this stage, gum disease is quite easy to treat and is completely reversible. However some of the symptoms of gingivitis are quite easy to ignore, and gingivitis is also sometimes called a silent disease. If you notice any symptoms such as bleeding or swollen gums, or perhaps an unpleasant taste or bad breath then you should contact a periodontist as soon as possible.

How Is Gingivitis Diagnosed and Treated?

A periodontist will gently examine your teeth and gums and may carry out the various diagnostic tests to evaluate the extent of the bacterial infection. These tests may include digital dental x-rays that show how far the disease has progressed and whether it has affected the bone surrounding your teeth, and he may gently probe your gums using a special instrument.

Probing is done to determine the depth of any pockets that may have formed in between your teeth and gums. These pockets, called periodontal pockets develop as a result of the gums pulling away from the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the depth of any pockets is between 1 mm and 3 mm, but where there are signs of gum disease, these pockets can be far deeper and larger.

After your examination, suitable treatments can be recommended. Often the early stages of gum disease can be simply treated with a professional dental cleaning or with scaling and root planing. This helps remove infection from any gum pockets, enabling the gums to heal more easily. It's important that any treatment is backed up with good oral care at home as unless you thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, the problem will recur and worsen.

What about Reversing Periodontitis?

Periodontitis or advanced gum disease cannot generally be reversed as the condition is often chronic. Treatment will focus on removing as much of the bacterial infection is possible and is likely to be ongoing to get the disease under control. It may be necessary to use a combination of non surgical and surgical treatments to help restore gum health. Non surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing can be useful in getting rid of quite a bit of the infection, but sometimes surgical treatment such as flap surgery is necessary to obtain greater access into deeper periodontal pockets.

Periodontal disease can also cause quite substantial destruction, affecting the gum tissue and the bone surrounding teeth. In this case these tissues can sometimes be repaired or regenerated through the use of sophisticated grafting techniques.

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