Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) Diagnosis and Treatment
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth. If left untreated, this may lead to pain, tooth mobility, and tooth loss. Unfortunately, people with chronic, untreated gum disease are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
Periodontal disease is treated in one of two ways: non-surgical and surgical.
Early gum disease may be treated non-surgically. This type of treatment involves cleaning out pockets that have formed in the gums next to the teeth. Depending on the clinical situation, the dentist may elect to place a time-released antibiotic in deeper pockets in order to kill the bacteria and reduce or eliminate excess pocket depth. Other aids such as rinses and specialized home care products may be used as a part of treatment. Ultimately the success of this treatment is dependent on how well the patient cleans (brushing and flossing) his or her teeth at home.
When the disease is severe or has not responded to non-surgical therapy, the patient may be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) for surgery to eliminate the gum pocketing.