The early signs of gum disease can be treated simply by incorporating healthy eating habits into your lifestyle, and adopting a complete and regular routine of brushing (to remove plaque from the surface of the teeth) and flossing or inter-dental brushing (to remove plaque from between the teeth).
Your dentist or dental hygienist will treat gingivitis by using a scaler to remove tartar in a regular series of cleaning sessions, together with establishing an effective brushing and flossing routine.
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.
The solution to periodontitis is a much deeper clean of your teeth, which is usually done under local anaesthetic. This allows your dentist to clean around the roots of the teeth (root planing) and into the areas where the gums have receded, allowing plaque to collect. In very advanced cases, your dentist may recommend gum surgery performed by a periodontist, to cut and lift the gums away to clean effectively around the base of the teeth, then stitch the gums back into place.
Antibiotics can be used to reduce the amount of bacteria produced. These can be combined with surgery, or can be prescribed on their own.
All of these treatments must be underpinned by the adoption of a regular and effective brushing routine, backed up by regular visits to your dentist and hygienist, to ensure that plaque is never again allowed to build up un-checked.