Gum Disease (cont.)
Steven B. Horne, DDS
Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is gum disease (gingivitis)?
- What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
- What causes gum disease?
- Does gum disease cause bad breath?
- What are other gum disease symptoms and signs?
- How is gum disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for gum disease?
- Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for gum disease?
- Can gum disease be reversed?
- Is gum disease associated with other health problems?
- How is gum disease managed in children?
- How is gum disease managed in pregnancy?
- Can gum disease be prevented?
- Is gum disease contagious?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is the treatment for gum disease?
The goals of treatment for gingivitis are to identify and eliminate the factors that are making the person more susceptible to gum disease. Most factors can be eliminated by establishing more consistent and thorough oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings. If there are certain risk factors such as smoking or uncontrolled diabetes that are contributing to the gum disease, they need to be addressed or eliminated to have success in reversing gingivitis. After the plaque and tartar are removed by a dentist or hygienist, the patient can usually reverse gum disease by brushing and flossing after every meal and using a daily mouth rinse. These are the over-the-counter treatments that everyone should use to prevent and cure gum disease.
In cases where gingivitis has led to periodontal disease and there are deep pockets that are difficult to clean, the patient may require deep scaling and root planing to clean teeth that are surrounded by deep pockets. They may need surgical treatment to gain access to all the tooth surfaces for a thorough cleaning. This surgical procedure is called flap surgery and can be combined with a pocket-reduction surgery to make the areas around the teeth easier for the patient to clean with brushing and flossing. This procedure consists of numbing the gums and then lifting them back to clean the teeth and sometimes reshape the bone. The gums are then repositioned around the teeth so there aren't the deep pockets that existed before treatment.
Soft-tissue grafts are used to cover up root surfaces that have been exposed by receding gums. This can help eliminate sensitive teeth and protect the root surfaces that are softer and more difficult to clean.
Antibiotic therapy can be combined in various ways to help treat gingivitis, periodontal disease, and especially ANUG. Chlorhexidine is an antibiotic mouthwash that can be used under direction of a dentist to help reduce the bacteria that cause gum disease. Antibiotics in the form of pellets can be placed in deep gum pockets to kill stubborn bacteria. Additional treatment such as xylocaine and NSAIDs may be needed for pain control in chronic gingivitis and ANUG.
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