Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support teeth. Gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums. Gum diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket.
Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Tobacco smoking or chewing.
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes.
- Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives.
- Dental bridges that no longer fit properly.
- Crooked teeth.
- Dental fillings that have become defective.
How are gum diseases treated?
Gum (periodontal) diseases are treated in a variety of ways depending on the stage of disease, responded to earlier treatment and overall health.
After a thorough periodontal evaluation, recommendations for treatment range from non-surgical therapies to surgical procedures. Non-surgical approaches control the growth of bacteria. Surgical procedures restore the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.
What are surgical treatments for gum disease?
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery: The gums are lifted back and tartar is removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed.
- Soft tissue grafts: This procedure strengthens thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded (areas where the root of the tooth is exposed).
- Bone grafts: Bone grafts use fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone. Grafts replace bone – and help bone regrow – in areas destroyed by periodontal disease.
- Bone surgery: Bone surgery soothes shallow craters in the bone due to moderate and advanced bone loss.
- Guided tissue regeneration: Performed when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed, this procedure stimulates bone and gum tissue growth.