Can Gum Disease Be Healed? Yes! Your General and Family Dentist in Portland, Oregon Explains How
Updated: Oct 14
Gum disease may be very common and have quite serious and permanent consequences if left untreated, but it is also very treatable at nearly every stage! Thanks to modern dentistry, there are many treatment options that can halt the disease’s progress and even reverse it entirely. The treatment type your doctor will recommend depends on the stage of gum disease.
Treatment For Early Stages (Gingivitis)
Gingivitis is usually very easy to heal and eliminate with good oral hygiene, meaning: Make sure to brush and floss daily, and visit the dentist regularly for twice-yearly cleanings! Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is non-destructive to the gums or surrounding structures, but if left untreated it will eventually progress to periodontitis, during which permanent damage and tooth loss can occur.
Treatment For Moderate Stages (Periodontitis)
Once gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, dentists usually recommend the highly effective Scaling and Root Planing (SRP) treatment. It is a non-surgical process, sometimes referred to as a dental “deep cleaning.” Here’s how it’s done:
Scaling removes plaque, tartar and bacterial toxins on your teeth both above and below the gum line.
Root Planing smooths the tooth root surfaces, making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere and easier for the gums to reattach to the teeth and heal.
A few weeks after an SRP is done, the dentist will check to see how well gums have healed and determine whether or not further treatment is needed. In most periodontitis cases, SRP (along with practicing good oral hygiene at home) reverses the disease entirely!
Treatment For Advanced Stages (Advanced Periodontitis)
With advanced periodontitis, Scaling and Root Planing often is not enough to heal the disease alone, and surgical treatments are needed as well. Surgical options depend on the condition of the patient’s mouth at this stage: how much tooth, bone or soft tissue loss has occurred, depth of pockets, amount and areas of tartar buildup, etc. The dentist will thoroughly examine and recommend the best course of treatment for each individual case. Surgical treatments for advanced periodontitis include:
Pocket Reduction/Flap surgery, which involves lifting the gums back and removing tartar deposits in deep pockets. In some cases, damaged bone is reshaped as well. The gums are then placed and stitched so that the tissue fits snugly around teeth.
Gum Grafts, which reinforce thin gums or fill in areas where gums have receded. Grafted tissue (usually taken from the roof of the mouth) is stitched in place, adding tissue to the affected area to reduce risk of further damage and cover exposed teeth roots.
Bone Grafts use fragments of the patient’s own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone to replace jaw bone damaged or destroyed by gum disease. The goal of bone grafting is to help the bone regrow and provide stability to teeth.
Guided Tissue Regeneration Therapy such as Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF) or Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation, encourages the patient’s own body to regenerate tissue at an accelerated rate. These therapies stimulate bone and gum tissue growth, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow to better support the teeth.
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