There are a variety of treatments for gum disease depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
Treatments range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues.
Non-surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease that don't involve surgery include:
- Professional dental cleaning. During a typical checkup your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar (plaque that builds up and hardens on the tooth surface and can only be removed with professional cleaning) from above and below the gum line of all teeth.
- Scaling and root planing. This is a deep-cleaning, nonsurgical procedure, done under a local anesthetic, whereby plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing).
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Some treatments for gum disease are surgical. Some examples are:
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery. During this procedure the gums are lifted back and the tartar is removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide.
- Bone grafts. This procedure involves using fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone to replace bone destroyed by gum disease.
- Soft tissue grafts. This procedure reinforces thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded.
- Guided tissue regeneration. Performed when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed, this procedure stimulates bone and gum tissue growth.
- Bone surgery. Smoothes shallow craters in the bone due to moderate and advanced bone loss. Following flap surgery, the bone around the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters. This makes it harder for bacteria to collect and grow.
Drugs Used to Treat Gum Disease
Antibiotic treatments can be used either in combination with surgery and other therapies, or alone, to reduce or temporarily eliminate the bacteria associated with gum disease or suppress the destruction of the tooth's attachment to the bone.