Periodontitis can be devastating if left untreated. Learn how to reverse periodontitis and save your gums and teeth here.
Do you struggle with gum inflammation and bouts of gingivitis? Are you doing enough to stop it from progressing?
For many Americans, the inflammation caused by gingivitis often becomes more serious. The American Dental Association says that 42 percent of Americans over 30 (with one or more teeth) have a condition called periodontitis.
Out of those people, 7.8 percent have severe periodontitis. That means they’re at risk of losing their teeth.
Fortunately, there’s help even for more severe cases. Keep reading to learn more about periodontal disease and how to reverse periodontitis using laser dentistry.
What is Periodontal Disease?
There are two diseases that fall under the umbrella of periodontal disease.
The first is gingivitis, which refers to the inflammation of the gums (gingiva). Gingivitis occurs when a film of bacteria or plague grows on your teeth and accumulates to a point where it irritates and inflames your gums.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Gum irritation
- Redness of the gums
- Swelling (inflammation)
Gingivitis isn’t good, but the disease isn’t destructive – at least not yet. If you don’t treat it, it can progress to the second type of gum disease: periodontitis.
When you have periodontitis, your gums are not only irritated, but they start to recede from the teeth and create small pockets of space. The little pockets then collect debris and bacteria, which cause infections in your mouth. What’s more, the plaque on your teeth also spreads. It travels beyond your gum line to the roots of your teeth.
If you leave periodontitis untreated, the battle between your body’s infection-fighting enzymes and the bacteria can turn against you. When left too long, it can begin to break down your jaw bone and the connective tissue that keep your teeth anchored. If your teeth become too loose, they then fall out.
The loss of teeth isn’t uncommon. Gum disease and periodontitis are the culprits behind most tooth loss among adults.
How to Reverse Periodontitis
The best thing to do to reverse gum disease is to treat gingivitis when it starts. Gingivitis is annoying, but it doesn’t cause tissue damage by itself. A visit to the dentist, a refresher on brushing techniques, and some antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash can clear mild to moderate cases right up. Flossing is also essential for removing the bacteria hiding between your teeth.
Most cases clear up within two weeks. More severe or chronic cases may take longer to handle. However, your dentist can give you pointers here, too.
By the time you have periodontitis, things become more complicated, and early interventions become even more vital to minimizing damage to your tissue.
Reversing gum disease then takes several steps. The first few are spent getting the disease under control.
Flawless Oral Hygiene
Ideally, you will receive an early periodontitis diagnosis, which enables you to stop the spread of the disease.
Whatever stage you get diagnosed at, your oral hygiene is integral to your efforts to get your gum health back.
You need to brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss once a day.
You will also get a deep clean from the dentist to help rid bacteria.
The dentist will not only remove buildup from your teeth and the roots but also give you a fluoride treatment. They also clean any pockets that need to heal. In moderate cases, your dentist uses a method known as scaling and root planing (SRP) to clean at the root of the teeth where bacteria make their home.
Healthy at-home oral hygiene habits also help sustain the effects of professional cleaning.
In some cases, you may need the added help of medicines to manage the bacteria in your mouth. Dentists prescribe these on a case-by-case basis and tend to offer them when your infection doesn’t respond to the SRP.
The antibiotics might be oral or capsule form or even a prescription-grade mouthwash or gel.
Cleaning and antibiotics are always the first port of call, but if you have periodontitis, you will also revisit your dentist a few weeks after the initial treatment to see if further procedures are necessary.
Surgical Treatments for Periodontitis
By the time you reach moderate periodontal disease, your body is beginning to lose the battle with bacteria. The moderate stage leads to a loss of bone support, which causes your teeth to become loose. What is more, the pockets in moderate to severe cases can become too deep to clean with standard tools.
Surgical options are the traditional treatments for moderate to severe periodontitis.
Flap surgery is a procedure during which your dentist lifts the gums to clean the tartar from underneath them. Your gums are then sutured, so they fit around your tooth. It is used in areas where traditional instruments can’t reach the pockets. You’ll also need antibiotics after the procedure.
If you experience bone and tissue loss, you may also need grafts in addition to flap surgery. This will help your bones regenerate to keep your mouth functional.
Restoring Your Jaw and Gums with Laser Dentistry
Surgical treatments are both expensive and invasive, but they may not be necessary for all periodontitis patients.
Laser dentistry can kill the bacteria and infected tissue and then remove the inflamed tissue around your roots. The dentist can then use the laser to smooth out the roots in the affected area to ward off future bacterial infections. The impacted area can then begin to heal and regenerate itself.
Why choose lasers over other therapy? Lasers allow for accuracy that targets only the infected tissue. By preserving the other tissue, your mouth has a better chance of recovering fully and must faster (compared to traditional treatment).
Reversing Gum Disease is Possible
Mild gingivitis isn’t a big deal. It happens to most people. But you must treat it because if you don’t, it can become periodontitis, which threatens the integrity of your gums and teeth.
When periodontitis goes too far, you need more than a cleaning and some antibiotics to get rid of it. And you could even lose some of your teeth.
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