Of adults ages 20 to 64, 8.52% have periodontal (gum) disease, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Gum disease can cause several problems, including gum recession and even tooth loss. If you have experienced receding gums, your dentist may have recommended surgery to fix the problem. However, before you agree to surgery caused by gum disease, it’s important to explore all of your options. Non-surgical gum disease treatment is available if you want to consider a less invasive treatment option.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) develops from the buildup of plaque on the teeth. As plaque builds it can lead to gum infection, causing harm to the gums and teeth. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, where the gums become inflamed and might bleed easily when you brush your teeth. Periodontitis is advanced gum disease and causes the inner layer of the gum and bone to pull away from the teeth to form pockets. These pockets can become infected and the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place can break down.
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is when the margin of the gums wears away or pulls back exposing the root of the tooth. This can cause pockets or gaps to form between the teeth and gum line making it easier for bacteria and plaque to build. You should have gum recession treated as soon as possible to prevent damage to the supporting tissue and bone structure. If the problem progresses, it could lead to tooth loss.
What Traditional Surgical Gum Disease Treatment Involves
The traditional way to treat periodontal disease and receding gums is to use osseous surgery. The periodontist cuts away the diseased gum with a scalpel and then sutures the gums around the teeth. While this is still an effective method of treating gum disease, there are several reasons to consider alternatives. One reason is that this treatment typically has a long recovery time. The treatment is more invasive than other more modern options and can feel uncomfortable during the healing process.
Another treatment that might be used is gingival grafting. This helps stop gum recession by removing a small amount of tissue from the patient’s mouth. The tissue is then grafted to the site of the gum recession and stitched in place.
Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment Options
Fortunately, there are multiple options for anyone who is looking for the right gum disease treatment. If you want an alternative to surgical treatments, here are some of the treatments that you can consider.
The laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) is a non-surgical gum disease treatment in the traditional sense. There is no cutting of tissues or stitching with sutures. Recovery is much quicker as a result and the outcome is impressive. LANAP treatment avoids the need for gum grafts by removing diseased or infected tissue and leaving the underlying connective tissue. The laser removes only diseased tissue, leaving healthy gum tissue intact. It then has a better chance of healing and allows the gums to recover from the chronic gum disease infection.
LANAP uses a sophisticated laser that has different pulses so that it can be set to discriminate between different tissues. This ensures that only the diseased gum tissue is removed, leaving more healthy tissue so it can heal. The treatment can reduce pocket depth, as well as stop attachment loss while ensuring as much healthy tissue remains. It is much less invasive than traditional surgical treatment and can heal faster too.
While discomfort is still expected with LANAP, it is often reported to be less painful compared to traditional surgery. Traditional surgery can also cause gum recession due to cutting the gum line, whereas LANAP helps to prevent this.
Pinhole technique is another option that offers an alternative to surgery for gum disease treatment. It is a minimally invasive treatment that helps address gum recession. Pinhole technique involves making small holes in your gum line, pinholes. Dr. Newhart then uses small tools to loosen your gums so that the tissue can expand and move to cover the exposed root of the tooth.
Pinhole technique offers a few benefits over gum grafting. It is a less invasive procedure and doesn’t require tissue removal from the roof of the mouth. No sutures or scalpel is required. There is generally less discomfort and the recovery time is much faster. It produces long-lasting results that look natural too.
Scaling and Root Planing
Another treatment for gum disease that does not require surgery is called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes tartar that has built up on the teeth or below the gum line, which helps to prevent bacteria from causing infection and other related problems such as gum recession.
Root planing involves smoothing out the roots of your teeth, which helps your gums reattach to your teeth if they have started to pull away.
Contact Dr. Newhart for Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment
If you would prefer not to have surgical treatment for gum disease, there are other options available. Dr. Richard Newhart can help you explore optional treatments and which might be most suitable for you. When you choose Dr. Newhart as your periodontist, you have a range of treatments available to you. There are traditional surgical treatments for gum disease in addition to more modern options such as LANAP and the pinhole technique.
Schedule an appointment today or give us a call. A member of our team will help answer your questions and confirm your appointment.