Non-surgical treatment of gum disease therapy is based on the fact that gum disease is an infection. Some of the bacteria that can be found under the gumline is not infectious and does not lead to bone loss around the teeth. However, there are other bacteria which when under the gumline, are an infection, and if left untreated, will lead to bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss, if not controlled.
The use of the phase contrast microscope to study a sample of the contents from beneath a patient’s gums can enable a proper diagnosis and a personalized treatment program based on the severity of any infection observed. In some cases surgery may be indicated, if the doctor, hygienist, and/or patient cannot reach the infected areas beneath the gumline with the necessary antibacterial agent. However, the surgery does not treat the infection; it only makes the infection accessible for the non-surgical therapy. In most cases the patient and the dental team can stop the disease process and stop bone loss.
Non-surgical treatment of gum disease requires each of the four sections of the mouth to have a deep cleaning called scaling and root planning. A section of the mouth is made numb with anesthesia, and dental instruments which clean the root surface and remove the diseased lining of the gums are used to disrupt the infection and to provide healthy root surfaces to help the gums heal. An antibacterial liquid is placed below the gums with a water-pik like instrument called an irrigator. In some cases antibiotic string is placed in the space between the gum and the tooth where the bone used to be. Samples from under the gums can be taken to view with the phase contrast microscope to evaluate the reduction of infectious bacteria.
If you have gum disease, more can be at stake than your teeth. As we have been discussing in detail over the past few blog posts, independent studies have shown that there is a correlation between the presence of gum disease and the risk of heart disease. The latest research guidelines for both the prevention and treatment of gum disease shows the optimum interval between hygiene visits is three months. Visiting the dentist every three months can help prevent heart disease, and could save your life! When you consider that 75% of the population has gum disease, most likely this information is of importance to you or someone you love.
For information about gum disease and other dental topics visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com or call us at 973-761-5090.