How do dentists diagonise Gum Disease?
The treatment option is highly dependent on the stage and severity of the gum disease. Treatment options range from nonsurgical therapies that focus on removing plaque and controlling bacterial growth to surgical interventions to restore supportive tissues that were damaged and lost.
Before starting the process, you will come in for an initial consultation where we do a thorough evaluation to assess the condition of your teeth in order to determine the correct course of treatment best suited to you.
Non-surgical treatments for Gum Disease
- Professional dental cleaning:
This involves the removal of plaque, tartar, and calculus from above and below the gum line of all your teeth. As tartar and calculus is essentially plaque that builds up and hardens on your tooth surface, it can only be removed by means of a professional cleaning, performed by an experienced dentist.
If any early signs of gum disease are detected, your dentist will recommend professional dental cleanings more than twice-a-year to ensure optimal oral and dental health is maintained. It is important to note that dental cleanings are not a treatment option for those with active gum disease. It is rather an important preventative measure that can help you avoid the development of any form of gum disease.
Depending on the severity and how much ‘cleaning’ is required, professional dental cleaning can be divided into three main categories:
- Standard Cleaning: Standard dental cleanings are recommended for individuals who have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis, and have minimal plaque, tartar, or calculus build-up. This process involves the use of a specialised handpiece with a metal tip. This tip vibrates at a supersonic speed to loosen the hardened calculus deposits. Although occasional sensitivity can be expected, the pain is minimal. In instances where the sensitivity is too high, hand instruments may be used to decrease the sensitivity.
- Deep Cleaning: Deep cleaning is recommended when the individual’s gum disease has advanced into periodontitis, and pockets have started to form. First, the supersonic specialised handpiece will be used to remove the bulk of the tartar and calculus from the teeth. A switch will then be made to other specialised tools to clean the deeper-lying deposits on the root surface. These specialised tools are designed to reach the bottom of the pockets without harming the gums or teeth. This procedure is referred to as curettage.
- Scaling and root planning: This deep cleaning, nonsurgical procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic in the case of advanced gum disease where deep pockets are present and there is plaque and calculus under the gums. It involves scraping away plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line (scaling) and smoothing rough spots on the tooth root to remove any and all bacteria to create a clean surface for the gums to effectively reattach to the teeth (planning). Follow-up appointments may be required, with more frequent cleanings if necessary.
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Surgery is needed when the surrounding tissue and structures are too unhealthy and damaged to be repaired with nonsurgical options.
Some examples or surgical treatments for gum disease include:
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery
- Bone grafts
- Soft tissue grafts
- Guided tissue regeneration
- Bone surgery
- Laser therapy