What types of treatment cure gum disease? Can you treat and cure it at home without treatment?
A gum exam performed by a dentist can determine the best way to treat a gum problem. Deep gum pockets may indicate advanced periodontal disease. Periodontal disease treatment can begin at the dental office with a thorough dental cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. A gum specialist (periodontist) can treat more advanced gum problems that persist after initial treatment.
In the case of gingivitis, a professional dental cleaning may be needed to remove the buildup of tartar and plaque around the teeth. This procedure allows the gums to heal. Additionally, specific oral hygiene instruction and a recommended schedule for routine care are equally important to maintaining gum health.
For periodontal disease, treatment is more involved. The first step usually involves a more thorough deep professional dental cleaning called “scaling and root planing.” This removes the tartar deposits and plaque that are deeply sequestered in the pockets of the gums. Medications can also be employed to control bacteria infecting the gums. The medications come in the form of antimicrobial (antibacterial) mouthwashes, oral antibiotics, and antibiotics placed directly into the gum pockets. Lastly, there is gum surgery to treat areas that do not respond to scaling and root planing and/or medications. The goal of gum surgery is to remove diseased tissue, preserve the remaining gums and bone, and create an environment that is easy to keep clean. Periodontists perform gum surgeries such as gingivectomy (to trim or recontour gums), connective tissue graft (to strengthen weak areas of the gum line), and pocket reduction (to eliminate deep pockets that trap food debris and bacteria).
Usually, gum recession is left alone unless there is an extensive amount of recession that compromises the health of the tooth or there is a cosmetic concern. A procedure called a “gum graft” may be performed that takes tissue from another area in the mouth (such as the roof of the mouth) and surgically grafts it onto the area of recession.
For a gum abscess, scaling and root planing is performed to clear out debris, diseased tissue, and any pus that may be present. The area is irrigated with antimicrobial rinses and may have antibiotics directly placed into the pocket. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed to help control the infection. Once the abscess disappeared, the area can be assessed for further treatment such as surgery to avoid a reoccurring gum problem.
At-home remedies after dental professional care may help soothe sore gums. Make a mouthwash using ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup of warm water. Regularly brushing teeth well and massaging gums at the gumline with a fluoride toothpaste can help eliminate dental plaque and debris to promote further healing. Additionally, flossing to reach between teeth is essential to maintain gum health.