What Can Your Dentist Do About Gum Disease?
If your gums start to get a bit red and sore, chances are good that you're developing gum disease. In many cases, brushing for a little longer, flossing more thoroughly, and using antiseptic mouthwash a few times per day should clear up the problem. But if it doesn't, you'll need to see your dentist for treatment. Untreated gum disease, after all, can lead to tooth loss down the road! Here's a look at what your dentist can do to treat your gum disease.
Gum disease is an infection. It's caused by the same oral bacteria that lead to tooth decay; they take up residence in your gums, making the tissue in that area sore. Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic gel for you to apply to your gums a few times per day. This medication will help fight off the bacteria, and it should get your gum disease under control within a week or two. Of course, you'll need to maintain a good oral hygiene routine in order for it to be effective.
For more serious cases of gum disease, or if your dentist suspects the bacteria have worked their way deep beneath your gum tissue, you may be prescribed oral antibiotics to swallow a few times per day. It's important to keep taking them for as long as your dentist recommends, even if your symptoms get better before they're gone. Stop taking them early, and your gum disease may just come back even worse.
If you have a lot of tartar on your teeth, this may be contributing to the problem. Tartar is hardened plaque. It holds on to oral bacteria, and it's difficult or impossible to remove at home. Your dentist can use a procedure called scaling to remove the tartar from the bases of your teeth. The procedure simply involves using metal picks and scrapers to physically scrape away the tartar. If your gums are sore, scaling may be a bit painful, but your dentist can use numbing gel or a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
Once the tartar is gone, you'll have an easier time keeping your teeth clean with regular brushing and flossing, so your gum disease should subside shortly. Remember to do a more thorough job of brushing near the base of your teeth in the future. This will prevent the tartar -- and the gum disease -- from coming back.
In some cases, your dentist may use both of these treatments. In other cases, you may just need one or the other. For more information, contact a clinic like Fuller Periodontics & Implant Dentistry.