Hello, my name is Gregory. When I was a young lad, I had to enter the health care world in an unexpected way. I developed a serious disease out of the blue that took doctors by surprise. I went through so many different testing procedures before my doctors could diagnose the rare disease. Everyone around me reeled as they tried to understand the purpose and process of the diagnostic tests. I hope to help others understand these important tests better through this website. Please come by often to learn all you need to know about medical diagnostics and working closely with health care professionals.
Many people, when they start experiencing early signs of gum disease, can just improve their brushing and flossing routine and watch those symptoms subside within a week or two. But what should you do when you've been thoroughly brushing twice per day -- and going through reams of floss – yet your gums are still bleeding and swollen? You should certainly not ignore the issue, since gum disease can eventually lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. What you should do is explore these more advanced treatment options (with the help of your dentist, of course).
The reason why your brushing and flossing is not adequately addressing your gum disease could be that the bacteria that cause the condition have worked their way under your gums and are taking up residence on the roots of your teeth. You can't reach these areas with normal brushing and flossing, so the bacteria just keep breeding and causing symptoms.
Thankfully, your dentist can fight below-the-gums bacteria with a procedure known as dental scaling. This is often the first treatment a dentist will recommend if you present with difficult-to-treat gum disease. The procedure is often performed under local anesthesia, as it can be a bit uncomfortable. It involves using a special tool to reach between your gums and the lower portions of your tooth, removing plaque and bacteria from this area. You'll be a bit sore afterwards and will probably be told to rinse your mouth out with a special antiseptic rinse for a few days after the procedure.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
If your gum disease has been allowed to progress for a while, a simple dental scaling procedure might not be enough to cure it. This is because in its later stages, gum disease causes pockets to form in the gums. Even if your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, bacteria can get caught in these pockets, essentially re-infecting your mouth and causing gum disease to perpetuate.
If you have pockets in your gums, your dentist will likely recommend a procedure called pocket reduction. This involves removing the excess gum tissue and suturing your gums so that they fit tightly against your teeth once again. Like dental scaling, pocket reduction is performed under local anesthesia. Your dentist will likely perform dental scaling at the same time to ensure the gum disease is fought off as quickly as possible. Once you're healed, the bacteria will no longer have a place to hide, so you should be able to keep gum disease at bay with regular brushing, flossing, and perhaps antiseptic mouthwash.
Gum disease is caused by oral bacteria, and some people's bodies are just not as adept at fighting off these bacteria as others'. If your dentist feels that your body needs some help fighting off the infection, he or she may prescribe antibiotics. These may be used alone or in conjunction with one of the treatments above.
Antibiotics often used to treat gum disease include doxycycline, minocycline and chlorhexadine. Depending on your needs and preferences, your dentist may prescribe a topical antibiotic gel that you'll need to apply to your gums several times per day, or they might prescribe an oral antibiotic that you need to swallow. In either case, it's essential that you use the antibiotics for as long as your dentist advises. Stopping early could just make the gum disease come back worse than before.
If your gums are red, swollen, and bleed easily, then you have gum disease. When brushing and flossing regularly do not cause your symptoms to subside, it's important to see a dentist like those at Schererville Family Dentistry, PC. He or she will recommend one or more of the options above, based on your needs, so that your gum disease does not end up costing you your smile.