Are you suffering from swollen, tender or red gums? Have you noticed people moving a little away from you when you speak? Do you have bad breath? Gum disease is caused by plaque, a white sticky substance composed of saliva, bacteria and food particles that collect around the tooth surface.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease characterized by swollen, red and tender gums that easily bleed. Bad breath is also a characteristic feature of gingivitis. When gingivitis is left untreated it progresses into a more severe form of gum disease that extends the destruction to the alveolar bone. This severe form of gum disease is called periodontitis. As we get older our risk of developing gum disease increases.
Our gums pull away from our teeth exposing the roots as we grow older. Unprotected roots are easy targets of plaque. Our saliva performs important flushing action that removes plaque, which accumulates on the teeth surfaces and neutralizes plaque acidity thus providing us protection against dental diseases. However, most often older people take drugs that reduce saliva production which include diuretics and high blood pressure medications.
The reduced flow of saliva increases the development of gum disease. Diseases like arthritis and diabetes can also affect our dental health. Arthritis can make proper tooth brushing techniques and proper oral hygiene routine challenging and cumbersome. People with diabetes and who are suffering from gum disease usually have impaired wound-healing capacity, which can lead to infection especially in older people who do not eat a well balanced diet.
A well balanced diet helps a person’s body fight against infection. Gum disease yet presents another problem. The bacteria coming from the infected gum pockets can spread to the saliva and can be transmitted from one person to another during the act of kissing. This can also be transmitted when you share a drinking a glass with a person with gum disease. People who have general poor health are most often prone to gum disease.
How is gum disease treated? Gingivitis can be treated with proper dental care through meticulous tooth brushing, the use of dental floss and regular dental check-up. On the other hand those who have periodontis usually need to undergo surgery and require drug treatment. People with periodontitis usually require surgery for treatment. Treatments include tooth scaling and root planing.
These dental procedures will remove plaque and make the diseased root surfaces smooth so that gum reattachment will be possible. Flap surgery is often required if the gum pockets are very deep. In flap surgery the gums are incised in order to expose the entire root for proper scraping and planing. After thorough cleaning and scraping, the gums are sewn back in place.
Sometimes periodontal disease can spread all the way to the jawbone. If this is the case, tissue regeneration or bone grafting will be necessary in order to save your dentition. Periodontitis can also be helped through several medications. However, these medications will only help fight the disease but will not cure it. A pill called periostat can be taken twice daily for a period of three months to combat periodontis. Your dentist Honolulu is in the best position to prescribe such medication.
The action of periostat is directed towards healing and strengthening of the gum tissue and at the same time it helps to keep teeth attachment to the alveolar bone. There are also two methods of treatment that will directly deliver drugs to the gum pockets and fight against bacteria. These are Atridox and PerioChip.
A doxycycline gel called Atridox can be used to treat periodontal pocket for seven days. This medication is applied to the periodontal pocket and which solidifies after application. A PerioChip on the other hand is a gelatin strip that is inserted into the periodontal pocket for seven days or more. PerioChip releases chlorhexidine, an antibacterial drug. Each of these treatments is used as an adjunct to surgery not a substitute.