If you have any of these symptoms, you could have periodontal (gum) disease:
Bad breath all the time
Swollen or bleeding gums
Mouth pain when chewing
Serious gum disease is called periodontitis. Over time, this condition can break down the bones and tissues that hold teeth in place. Untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.
If you have this problem, a dentist or a gum disease expert called a periodontist may suggest having a regenerative procedure. It may also be called guided tissue regeneration.
This surgery may be an option for you if the bone that supports your teeth has been damaged by gum disease. It may be combined with other treatments, such as bone grafts, to help protect your teeth.
Regeneration can be done in the office. During this surgery, a periodontist folds back part of the gum and cleans out bacteria that cause infection and make gum disease worse. Then he or she inserts a tiny piece of mesh between the gum and bone. This mesh acts like a shield, preventing the gum from growing into the area where the bone should be. This allows the bone to grow back so that teeth don’t need to be pulled.
To protect against gum disease:
Gently brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, paying special attention to the gumline.
Floss daily to clean between teeth.
See your dentist or periodontist regularly.
“Oral Health Topics A-Z. Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums (Oral Hygiene).” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2624.aspx Accessed 2009.
“Periodontal Disease. Engineering the Future of Care.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, November 3, 2008. www.nidcr.nih.gov/Research/facingthefuture/periodontal.htmAccessed 2009.
“Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, June 18, 2009. www.perio.org/consumer/procedures.htm Accessed 2009.
“Periodontal Procedures.” American Academy of Periodontology. www.perio.org/consumer/procedures.htmAccessed 2009.
“Regeneration.” American Academy of Periodontology. www.perio.org/consumer/regeneration.htm Accessed 2009.
“Whole Tooth Regeneration: It Takes a Village of Scientists, Clinicians, and Patients.” M.L. Snead. Journal of Dental Education. August 2008, vol. 72, no. 8, pp. 903-11. www.jdentaled.org/cgi/content/full/72/8/903Accessed 2009.