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How Can Your Dentist Treat Periodontal Disease?

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Periodontal disease is any disease that affects your gums, including gingivitis and periodontitis. The type of periodontal disease treatment you need will depend on the severity of your gum disease. If you suffer from gum erosion, pain, loose teeth, or other symptoms of periodontal disease, your dentist can help you in one or more of the following ways:

1. Prescription Medication

If your gums are infected, antibiotics are a good first line of treatment. Antibiotics kill bacteria that can cause oral infections. Your dentist can prescribe a course of antibiotics to clear up active infections in your mouth. However, additional treatments may be needed to remove tartar buildup below your gum line in order to prevent recurring infections.

2. Root Planing

If you've ever been to the dentist for a routine checkup, you have probably had your teeth scaled. Teeth scaling is the process of mechanically removing tartar from teeth using a metal device. However, people with periodontal disease often have tartar buildup below their gums as well. Root planing is a technique that allows dentists to clean below the surface of your gums. Before performing a root planing procedure, your dentist will numb your mouth using injections of a local anesthetic.

3. Flap Surgery

People with periodontal disease sometimes have excessively deep pockets surrounding their teeth. According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy gum pockets typically do not exceed 3 mm. However, periodontal disease can cause these pockets to deepen to 5 mm or more. Flap surgery is a procedure that allows dentists to thoroughly clean the area below your gum line while also closing large gum pockets. Timely flap surgery can help you recover from periodontal disease and avoid lasting consequences, such as bone erosion and tooth loss.

4. Tissue Regeneration Therapies

Periodontal disease can cause permanent changes to your body, such as tooth loss and bone erosion. Fortunately, dentists have the tools to help patients recover from these unwanted changes. Tissue regeneration therapies can help your body heal itself.

Bone grafting is one such therapy that uses bone matter from your own body or a synthetic alternative to help you recover lost bone mass in your jaw. Tissue-stimulating proteins may also be applied to the affected area to encourage your bone and soft tissue to regenerate. Your doctor can talk to you about available tissue regeneration therapies to help you decide if these treatments are right for you.