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Among the causes for periodontal (gum) disease are genetic susceptibility, smoking, and other illnesses like diabetes. Most gum diseases are preventable with proper oral hygiene. However, what can start out as gingivitis (inflamed or bleeding gums) can quickly turn into periodontitis. In such cases, gums pull away from the tooth to create “pockets,” thereby exposing a dental root to infection. It can also lead to prolonged bad breath, loose teeth, painful chewing and other complications.
The goal of periodontitis treatment is to thoroughly clean the pockets around teeth and prevent damage to surrounding bone. You have the best chance for successful treatment when you also adopt a daily routine of good oral care and stop tobacco use.
If periodontitis isn't advanced, treatment may involve less invasive procedures, including:
Scaling: Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and beneath your gums. It may be performed using instruments, a laser or an ultrasonic device.
Root planing: Root planing smoothes the root surfaces, discouraging further buildup of tartar and bacteria, and removes bacterial byproducts that contribute to inflammation and delay healing or reattachment of the gum to the tooth surfaces.
Antibiotics: Topical or oral antibiotics can help control bacterial infection. Topical antibiotics can include antibiotic mouth rinses or insertion of gels containing antibiotics in the space between your teeth and gums or into pockets after deep cleaning. However, oral antibiotics may be necessary to completely eliminate infection-causing bacteria.
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