Gum (periodontal) diseases are treated in a variety of ways depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
After a thorough periodontal evaluation, recommendations for treatment range from non-surgical therapies to surgical procedures. Non-surgical approaches control the growth of bacteria. Surgical procedures restore the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.
In some patients, the non-surgical procedure of scaling and root planing is all that is needed to treat gum diseases. Surgery is needed when the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical options.
Antibiotics can be used either in combination with surgery and other therapies or alone. Antibiotics reduce or temporarily kill the bacteria of periodontal disease. They also prevent the destruction of the tooth’s attachment to the bone.
Chlorhexidine (Peridex®, PerioChip®, PerioGard® and other over-the-counter trade names) is an antibiotic used to control plaque and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) in the mouth or in periodontal pockets (the space between the gums and teeth). The medication is available as a mouth rinse or as a gelatin-filled chip that is placed in pockets after root planing. The medication is released slowly over about 7 days. Other antibiotics, including doxycycline, tetracycline, and minocycline are also used to treat gum disease.
In addition, nonprescription toothpaste called triclosan is often recommended. This toothpaste contains fluoride and an antibiotic, which reduce plaque and gingivitis.
Your dentist or periodontist can perform most procedures in the office. The time needed to perform the procedures, your degree of discomfort, and time needed to heal vary from patient to patient. Other factors are the type and extent of the procedure and your overall health. Local anesthesia to numb the treatment area may be given before some treatments. If necessary, a medication may be given to help you relax.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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