Reversing gum disease – Gingivitis cured!
Gingivitis, being a reversible condition, will restore quickly once dental plaque is removed and prevented from returning (by regular tooth brushing and flossing). The first line of defence against periodontal disease is actually prevention. This includes a good oral hygiene routine at home. Brushing at least twice a day and cleaning between teeth once a day with floss helps prevent plaque from accumulating. Depending on the severity of the disease, more in-depth oral hygiene instructions may be recommended.
STEP 1. Get your gingivitis assessed by a periodontist
A periodontist is a registered specialist dentist and is committed to the treatment of periodontal tissues (gums). If your gums have become infected you may have gingivitis or periodontitis, and an examination by a periodontist is essential for the correct diagnosis of your gum disease. Depending on how far the periodontal disease has progressed, treatment can vary widely. In the early stages of gingivitis, treatment may involve scaling and root planing. The many benefits of periodontal treatment include fresh breath, the ability to chew your food more easily, healthy gums that are free from infection and most importantly, helping you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime! Whatever the treatment may entail, the goal is to cure your gingivitis and return you to good oral health and then help you to maintain it.
STEP 2. Good homecare under the guidance of hygienist
As well as the treatment provided at the clinic, the patient must understand that they play a key role in curing gingivitis. This often means a change in attitude and cleaning techniques to achieve high standards of oral hygiene. The primary consideration for patients is the general removal and control of plaque. Plaque is formed in the mouth by bacteria that multiply and form a sticky, almost invisible, film on the teeth. The plaque that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into calculus (tartar). You can learn more about correct brushing technique and good homecare by following these links.
STEP 3. Non surgical gingivitis treatment
Non surgical gingivitis treatment includes removing plaque and calculus in the pockets around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces. Scaling and root planing helps rid the mouth of infection-causing bacteria and irritants beneath the gum line. More advanced cases may require periodontal surgical treatment. The goals of this treatment are to remove calculus from deep pockets around teeth, reduce the pockets, smooth root surfaces and arrange gum tissue into a shape that will be easier to keep clean.
The hygienist can provide non surgical treatment for gingivitis
Mechanical plaque control – Scaling and root surface debridement
The hygienist’s role is to provide support and guidance for the patient in their objective to maintain good oral hygiene and cure gingivitis. Even with a patient that is motivated and committed towards good homecare it is often necessary for the hygienist to provide non surgical treatment in order to get the periodontal disease under control. The plaque that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into calculus (tartar), and even with the patients best efforts this can be extremely difficult to remove especially when it is below the gum line. The need for professional intervention is crucial and can include non surgical treatments such as scaling, root planning (also called root surface debridement) and methods of chemical plaque control. Root planning is a procedure that is necessary to eliminate the toxins, plaque and calculus that exist on the surface of the tooth below the gum line, and it is an essential step towards curing the gingivitis gum disease.
The bacteria, plaque and calculus can be manually removed by the hygienist utilising two methods. Firstly using manual techniques the hygienist will employ various instruments to “mechanically scrape” away stubborn deposits in the periodontal pockets and calculus along the gum line (gingival calculus). Root surfaces that show no signs of subgingival calculus can be managed by using an ultrasonic scaler lightly over the tooth surface. This will remove the loosely associated toxins and been shown to be extremely effective in managing the periodontal disease. At the Birmingham Periodontal and Implant Centre we use innovative technology from the Dentsply, who are one of the leading manufacturers of ultrasonic scalers . The Cavitron “JET Plus” provides clinical efficacy, ergonomics, ease-of-use and patient comfort. The ultrasonic scaler helps us to deliver the highest quality care to our patients, and they are one of the most comfortable, responsive and clinically effective ultrasonic scalers available today.
Chemical plaque control, mouth rinses and medication
The elimination of calculus is important for the control of gingivitis and managing periodontal diseases that are in more advanced stages. However calculus is not actually the cause of periodontal disease, it is regarded as a contributory factor. This is because calculus has a coating layer of dental plaque and can also impede toothbrusing and interdental cleaning. Calculus found below the gum line (sub-gingival calculus) also acts as a barrier to effective cleaning and therefore may absorb bacteria and provide and ideal environment for the periodontal disease to develop further. For these reasons it is important to remove as much calculus as possible to assist in effective periodontal healing, returning you gingiva (gums) to optimum health. Once most of these deposits have been removed, your periodontist may decide to administer a full mouth disinfection. This may be part of your non surgical treatment plan since most of the bacteria may have been removed from the periodontal pockets during your treatment, some bacteria can still exist on your tongue, in the saliva and even on your tonsils. In this case re-infection of your gingival (gums) and periodontal pockets can occur if the bacteria that exists in your mouth returns to these sites. It is therefore important to eliminate these organisms as quickly as possible. This is usually achieved my taking a full mouth rinse or spray immediately after root surface debridement. These are the main treatment strategies for gingivitis, if however your periodontal condition is more advanced and you are diagnosed with periodontitis, then in addition to the non surgical treatments discussed here you may also received a prescription for antibiotics to help cure and manage the periodontal infection.