If a patient's gum disease keeps advancing, then a dentist may recommend scaling and root planing (SRP) to treat it. During SRP, dentists remove tartar from below the gumline and smooth tooth roots so that gum pockets can shrink and no longer fill up with bacteria. However, if your gum disease is too advanced or if SRP alone doesn't help, you might wonder what your other options are to treat the problem. Here are a few ways a dentist can address your gum disease.
Antibiotic Microsphere Applications
If gum pockets don't heal quickly enough after SRP, they can fill back up with bad bacteria. If SRP doesn't work by itself, then your dentist may recommend antibiotic microsphere applications. These microspheres are placed in gum pockets and contain antimicrobials that slowly release medication to extend procedures you have done at your dentist's office. In fact, one study showed that patients gum pocket depths improved more with microsphere application compared to patients that didn't have this treatment.
Flap Surgery and Guided Tissue Regeneration
As the name suggests, your dentist will use a scalpel to create a small flap in your gums during flap surgery. This flap is lifted away to expose the jaw bone and tooth root. Like with SRP, your dentist will excise diseased gum tissue and debride the area of any tartar and bacteria. Your dentist may even reshape bone or enamel to make it easier for gum pockets to reattach. Once the area is debrided and infected tissue is removed, your dentist will suture the flap shut.
After gum flap surgery, some people don't have a lot of healthy gum tissue left. This problem can be fixed with guided tissue regeneration. During this procedure, your dentist will place a specialized membrane around your tooth roots and any areas with thin gum tissue. This membrane prevents gum tissue from growing into areas where bone tissue needs to grow. The regeneration membrane encourages the jawbone to grow stronger, and it helps gum tissue heal snugly around the neck of the tooth (where the tooth root ends and the crown portion begins).
While gingivoplasty can be used for cosmetic procedures to improve the appearance of gum tissue, it can also be used to re-contour deep gum pockets and eliminate diseased soft tissue. Instead of using a scalpel, your dentist may use a laser to remove diseased tissue. If your gums are receding even after gum tissue is re-shaped, then your dentist may place a gum graft.
Other options for severe gum disease include bone graft surgeries, pinhole surgery, and mucogingival surgery. Reach out to a dentist in your area for more information on dental care options to treat your gum disease.