How Can You Overcome Advanced Periodontal Disease?

Periodontitis, or advanced gum disease, can be extremely painful because it causes bleeding and inflamed gums. However, if left untreated, it can also increase the risk of complications, including tooth loss. If your dentist has diagnosed you with gum disease or you've noticed your gums are painful and swollen, there are treatment options you can consider to help manage the symptoms so you can improve the overall health and appearance of your smile. Check out these three steps toward overcoming periodontal disease.

Stop the Spread of Infection With Regular Cleaning and Antibiotics

Gingivitis is the more mild form of gum disease, and it is considered reversible with proper care and cleaning. However, when gum disease advances to periodontitis, it is no longer reversible, but you can treat the condition to reduce symptoms, and the first place to start is with a good cleaning. You'll need to start regular brushing and flossing at home, and your dentist, someone like Kyle J Frisinger DMD, will likely prescribe a special anti-biotic mouthwash, which kills bacteria, the root cause of gum disease.

You'll also need to have a professional cleaning, but a professional cleaning only cleans above the gum line. When you have advanced gum disease, however, the plaque, tartar, and bacteria irritate the gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth a little. This creates a small pocket below the gum line. To remove the tartar and bacteria and reduce the irritation, the dentist will perform scaling and root planing. Your dentist may also apply antibiotic gel, chips, etc. directly inside the pockets.

Treat the Long-Term/Permanent Effects of Periodontal Disease

Once your gums aren't constantly irritated or bleeding, your dentist will talk about the long-term effects from uncontrolled gum disease. This typically includes gum recession and bone recession. You already know your gums can create pockets, but even after cleanings and antibiotics, the gums may not return to their original position. If this is the case, the dentist may recommend gum flap surgery. In this procedure, the gums are cut and pulled back, exposing the tooth roots. The dentist cleans the roots and repositions the gums against the teeth.

In other cases, your gums may thin, making your teeth look longer by exposing your tooth roots. This puts them at risk for decay and infection. To fix this, your dentist may recommend a gum graft. Similarly, if the gum disease has affected your jawbone, causing it to atrophy, you may need bone grafts to add volume, especially if you want to replace missing teeth.

Consider Tooth-Replacement Options and Continue Great Oral Hygiene

Advanced gum disease drastically increases the risk of tooth loss because it exposes tooth roots, thins gums, and weakens the jawbone, but once your gum disease is under control, you can start considering tooth replacement options other than dentures. Dental bridges and dental implants are excellent ways to replace missing teeth. Dental bridges are more affordable, but dental implants are the more durable choice because they use the jawbone for support.

You must also continue to follow good oral hygiene or risk losing your dental bridge or implant. The infection can return, causing the gums and jawbone to weaken, which increase the risk of the anchor teeth supporting the dental bridge to loosen. If you have an implant, it may develop peri-implant disease, which exposes the titanium root and increases the risk of implant failure.

Advanced gum disease can devastate your smile's appearance and health, making you miserable. While you can't reverse periodontitis, you can treat the symptoms, including gum and bone recession. For more information regarding gum disease treatments or prevention, contact a dentist in your area today.