Periodontal disease pertains to all conditions that affect the supporting structures of your teeth. These periodontal structures include your gingiva (gums), cementum (the hard substance that covers the roots of your teeth), alveolar bone (in which your teeth are anchored), and periodontal ligament (which attaches your tooth to the bone). Infection is the most common disease affecting periodontal structures. Gingivitis, periodontitis, and periodontal abscess are examples. They can have a fairly rapid onset (acute) or take a longer, insidious course (chronic). To treat periodontal disease, surgery is not always the answer right away. There are several non-surgical treatment options for periodontal disease that you can use.
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Things you need
- Dental floss
- Antiseptic mouthwash
Plaque formation is the root cause of most gum diseases. Therefore, elimination of plaque is a cornerstone of prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. Brush your teeth at lease twice a day, using a toothbrush with even nylon bristles. If possible, replace your toothbrush monthly.
Regular flossing of your teeth is also necessary. Brushing alone is not enough to clean the spaces in between your teeth.
Use an antiseptic mouthwash. Chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash (either 0.2% or 0.12% solution) is recommended. Gargle 10ml of the antiseptic twice a day. Chlorhexidine is also available in gel form, which you can use in place of your toothpaste.
Have a periodic periodontal examination. Periodontal disease is usually asymptomatic --- but detectable by your dentist --- during its early stages. Your dentist can demonstrate plaque and tartar formation or swollen gums that are prone to bleeding.
Have your teeth scaled and polished. Scaling refers to the removal of plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth, using hand instruments or an ultrasonic mechanical instrument (i.e., the whirring thing that you often see dentists use). Your dentist can polish your teeth afterward with fluoride-containing toothpaste. Familiarise yourself with the feeling of clean teeth and gums because this is what you must maintain through brushing and flossing.
Your dentist might prescribe oral antibiotics as part of your non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease. The most commonly prescribed drugs are tetracycline, clindamycin, and metronidazole. These antibiotics target specific microorganisms that most commonly cause periodontal infection.
To achieve a higher concentration of antibiotics on the infected site (and therefore, a faster and more efficient kill of microorganisms), your dentist might apply antibiotics directly on your periodontal structures. He may inject an antibiotic gel or paste, or insert an antibiotic-impregnated fibre on your gum pockets. These procedures are not painful and do not involve surgery. They also minimise adverse effects from medications, because less of the drug is absorbed by the rest of your body.
Tips and warnings
- For patients with periodontal disease, the ideal follow-up schedule is every 3 months, or more frequently, as your dentist deems necessary.
- Smoking aggravates periodontal disease, so you should avoid this bad habit.
- Ill-fitting dentures predispose you to periodontal disease. They can also worsen an ongoing gum disease. Have your dentures altered or replaced right away.
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