If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you may have many questions and concerns surrounding your future health, such as these:
- What other medical problems could this cause in the future?
- Is gum disease curable?
- How much will it cost to treat gum disease?
Being diagnosed with this can be a scary thing. According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. This equals approximately 64.7 million Americans.
Below, we’ll answer some common questions and concerns posed by those who have been diagnosed with gum disease to give you some peace of mind and next steps about your dental and overall health.
“Researchers [have discovered] new reasons to brush and floss. A healthy mouth may help you ward off medical disorders. The flip side? An unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and preterm labor.”
– Colgate Professionals
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a gum infection. It is usually caused by poor brushing and flossing or skipping routine dental visits where dentists help remove plaque buildup. Once diagnosed, dentists can help heal gum infection with regular maintenance appointments.
How Will Gum Disease Affect My Health?
There are several ways in which this disease can affect your health. Some of the most common medical conditions include:
- Premature birth and low birth weight during pregnancy
Below is some more information on each linked side effect of gum disease:
Learn more about gum disease at Rosen Orthodontics in Buffalo Grove.
Can Gum Disease Be Cured?
Early stages can be cured with treatment and good at-home dental care, although you will always be at higher risk of it returning in the future. More advanced stages cannot be reversed, but they can be maintained with proper treatment and care by a periodontist (gum specialist).
How Much Does Gum Disease Treatment Cost?
What happens if you have gum disease? What sort of treatment will you need to go through and how much will it cost?
These are great questions to be asking if you have received a diagnosis. Below we’ll walk through what treatment to expect and how much each may cost you without dental insurance and with a dental plan.
Scaling and Root Planing
Your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing to clean tartar from above and below your gums and smooth out rough surfaces of your tooth roots.
This is recommended when your teeth become surrounded by deep pockets that are difficult to clean due to the disease.
After your scaling and root planing, the dentist may use the following medications individually or in combination with each other to control bacteria and shrink periodontal pockets.
- Antiseptic chip
- Antibiotic microspheres
- Antibiotic gel
Additional medications may be recommended after scaling and root planing to promote healing. These include:
- Enzyme suppressants
- Oral antibiotics
Finally, your dentist may recommend a prescription mouthwash to use at home when you brush and floss your teeth each day.
You may have gotten cleanings at the dentist before, but periodontal maintenance is a little different. Periodontal maintenance focuses on both the exposed part of your tooth and the area underneath the gum line, whereas regular dental cleanings only clean above the gum line.
Your dentist may recommend laser therapy if he/she thinks that will be enough to eliminate the harmful bacteria found in the periodontal pockets of your gums.
If your gums are not doing a great job of protecting the roots of your teeth, graft surgery can be used. This surgery takes gum tissue from the roof of your mouth and uses it to make a gum graft that essentially covers exposed roots of your teeth. It sounds worse than it is!
Also known as pocket reduction, flap surgery is the process of folding back the gum tissue to remove infectious bacteria and smooth out areas of damaged bone. This allows your gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone.
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Can Gum Disease Be Treated at Home?
Home remedies have become a popular concept for treating medical and dental health issues these days, but natural remedies should not be your sole treatment method for treating gum disease. There are some natural home remedies you can try – in addition to your treatment plan through a dentist or periodontist – to promote better dental health and prevent worsening of the disease. You can use some of the following home remedies for gum disease:
- Drink green tea for the antioxidants
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to soothe your mouth
- Dilute baking soda in water and use to brush your teeth and gumline; it will help soothe the irritated gum tissue
- Use oil pulling to help reduce bacteria that causes gum infections
- Be consistent with daily brushing and flossing habits
Have more questions? Consult your dentist or doctor for their expert opinion on next steps and treatment.