Is Periodontal Disease Reversible?

Is Periodontal Disease Reversible?

by Holly (SU)

A less-than-stellar gum line, marked by red, swollen, or bleeding gums, is common even among those of us who brush and floss every day. When the gums are in this condition, it’s known as gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums.

Left untreated, gingivitis may lead to periodontitis – also called periodontal disease or gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodontitis affects almost half of all Americans over the age of 30.

What’s the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

The main difference between the preliminary stages of gum inflammation (gingivitis) and the more serious condition of gum disease (periodontitis) is that the plaque or bacteria microorganisms begin to target not only the gums, but also the bones, ligaments, and structures of the tooth and jaw. Without treatment, the bones around the teeth will slowly degrade.

But don’t retire your toothbrush and throw in the towel on good oral hygiene, because there are many treatments available today to manage and even reverse the damage done by periodontal disease. Losing teeth to the condition is no longer the norm.

How to Control Periodontal Disease

According to the American Dental Association, the first nonsurgical step in alleviating periodontal disease is what is known as “scaling” or “root planing.” This ultra-deep cleaning removes plaque and tartar on the surfaces of not only the teeth but also the roots.

Antiseptic chips, which are small pieces of gelatin filled with chlorhexidine, may be inserted into pockets after root planning to ward off bacteria. Slow-release medicated gels may also be used.

Typically, this will act as a catalyst to shrink periodontal “pockets” and reduce gum inflammation. Your dental professional might prescribe a mouthwash rinse or pill to keep infections at bay.

One of the major steps in mitigating periodontal disease is utilizing proper brushing, rinsing, and flossing techniques every day, as well as being conscientious about applying any medications they have given you. Floss picks and electric toothbrushes can help make oral hygiene more enjoyable.

What if I Get Periodontal Disease?

In some cases, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, which is a specialized dentist who handles conditions with the supporting structures of your teeth. Untreated periodontitis has the potential to lead to not only tooth loss, but also serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke.

Therefore, the sooner you seek help from a dental professional, the better your outcome will be. Each person’s oral health is unique, and surgical intervention is usually applied only if noninvasive methods have not been successful.

How Can Periodontitis Be Treated?

There are a handful of surgical options for eradicating periodontitis. One is guided tissue regeneration (GTR), which aims to repair and regenerate gingival tissue. Another is gingival flap surgery, in which the gums are lifted back to allow for the removal of tartar deep within the gum pockets.

Family Dentist in Eugene, OR 

It’s time to take control of your oral health. Dr. Binder and our experienced team at 360 Dental have all the necessary tools to help restore your oral health and reclaim your confidence.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call our office today at (541) 689-1645, or use our easy online appointment request form now. Let us help you keep your smile healthy and bright!