Periodontitis is an advanced form of periodontal disease. With periodontitis, the gum tissue recedes away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can build up and cause an infection. The treatment for advanced periodontal disease involves multiple steps. For progressive periodontal disease, as a first-line treatment, a periodontist will sometimes recommend medications before resorting to surgery, depending on the severity of your gum disease.
What Are Some Common Symptoms of Periodontitis?
The early indicators of periodontitis include receding gums and pockets between the gums and the teeth. Once the infection reaches under your gum line, periodontitis can destroy tissues, ligaments, and bones in the mouth that could eventually lead to a loss of a tooth. The common symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Pain when chewing and biting
- Poor alignment of the teeth
- Recession of the gums
- Formation of pockets between the teeth and gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Soreness and bleeding in the gums
- Teeth loosening or becoming sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
What Are the Various Types of Periodontal Treatment?
Tooth scaling and root planing: This is a two-step procedure to treat periodontitis, in which the dentist will scrape off the tartar that has accumulated on teeth both above and below the gum line. Next, the rough spots on the tooth roots will be smoothened, making it more difficult for bacteria to attach, thereby preventing the buildup of more plaque and tartar.
Flap surgery: The dentist may recommend flap surgery if the gum inflammation and pockets next to the teeth persist even after a deep teeth-cleaning procedure. During flap surgery, the tartar is eliminated from the pockets that have formed alongside the teeth. The pockets are then closed with sutures, so the gum tissue once again fits in tightly over the teeth. It becomes more accessible and comfortable to brush and floss your teeth after the removal of the pockets.
Tissue grafts: In severe cases of periodontitis in which bone and tissue have been damaged, a patient may need bone or tissue grafts to replace the infected tissue. The graft may involve a technique called guided tissue regeneration, in which a small piece of net is placed between the jaw bone and gums to allow for the regrowth of the bone and tissue. The planned tissue regeneration helps keep the gum tissue from protruding so that both the bone and tissue grafts have space to grow.
Doxycycline gel: This gel that contains doxycycline, an antibiotic, aids periodontal disease treatment by killing bacteria and shrinking the pockets that form along the gum line. The gel is applied to the pockets after a tooth scaling/root planing procedure, and the antibiotic is released gradually for about a week.
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