What can I expect from gum treatment?
The purpose of our gum (periodontal) treatment is to return your gums to health and to prevent any further gum disease.
What gum treatment will I need?
Gum treatment may involve some or all of the following:
- a hygienic phase also called non-surgical treatment
- corrective phase called surgical treatment (we avoid gum surgery whenever possible)
- supportive phase involving regular gum check-ups
What is non-surgical gum treatment?
Most treatment starts with this, the hygienic phase of intensive cleaning of the roots below the gums.
This is more than the 'scale and polish' that you may be familiar with and involves treatment below and above the gum line. Below the gum line, treatment to the infected root surface where bacterial toxins have penetrated can be very difficult to perform successfully especially if bone loss is advanced. We specialize in this area of oral health and that is why you have been referred. After your gums are numbed, a thin instrument is placed between the gum and tooth in order to remove the infected area.
Many areas in your mouth are expected to respond favourably to this treatment. The result is a reduction in gum inflammation (redness, swelling and bleeding). After treatment, we will help you to obtain the extremely high standard of daily plaque removal from your teeth necessary to ensure that your condition is stabilized successfully.
Before and after non-surgical gum treatment
How many appointments will I need for this treatment?
The number of visits needed depends on how much disease you have. More appointments may also be required if you have difficulty removing plaque.
A review appointment eight weeks after treatment is needed to see how well your gums have responded to treatment and to check your plaque control. Any areas that have not responded as well as we would like, will be highlighted at the review appointment and if necessary, any further gum treatment can be discussed.
It is best to undertake and complete this phase of treatment sooner rather than later, as it will help prevent further bone loss.
Why would I need further gum treatment?
Sometimes the best result of treatment (decrease in pocket depths and bleeding) can only be achieved with gum surgery, especially in those areas where there has been significant bone loss.
In this phase of treatment we numb your gums and gently lift them in order to clean & scale the deeper parts of the roots. Exposing the root surface in this way allows us to treat these areas thoroughly. The gum is then secured with soft stitches and these stitches are removed painlessly during a short appointment 1 week later.
The advantage of gum surgery is that gum pockets can be treated and reduced, or eliminated, immediately and your gums can then be more easily looked after by you in the future.
How often do I need to see a hygienist once my gums have stabilised?
Regular gum checkups (usually every three months) are the best way of ensuring that your gums stay healthy.
We recommend comprehensive 3 monthly hygiene visits in our specialist clinic called supportive periodontal therapy (SPT). Because you are prone to gum disease, the aim of our SPT is a targeted programme to specifically reduce your risk of relapse and future tooth loss.
At the check-ups we will assess you carefully to see how well you are removing plaque from your gumline and to ensure that your condition remains stable.
Once stable we can we can refer you back to your dentist for your continued general dental health care after your gum health is restored.
Will smoking affect my treatment?
Scientific studies show that if you are prone to having gum disease then smoking will increase the amount of jawbone loss around your teeth.
Smoking will also hinder healing following treatment. This means that more treatment will be necessary to bring your infection under control. Once the gum disease is controlled, you will need to have your gums checked and scaled more frequently.
Will my gums shrink after treatment?
It is likely that your gums may shrink (recede) after treatment, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed, because the inflammation and swelling has subsided.
This can make some people's teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods. The nerves are likely to settle down after several weeks, particularly if you maintain a very high standard of plaque control.
It is often useful to use a fluoride mouthwash daily for four weeks after treatment.
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