The human mouth is a perfect place for bacteria to grow and thrive. Our mouths have the darkness, moisture, warm temperatures, and food that bacteria love. When the bacteria in our mouths aren’t removed from our tooth surfaces and tongues, they grow into a sticky substance called biofilm, commonly called “plaque.” If this substance stays in one place long enough, it collects minerals and begins to harden into calculus, commonly called “tartar.” Once it has hardened into tartar, it cannot be removed with oral self-care. Your dentist or hygienist will use sterile instruments to remove it for you. Plaque and tartar are bacteria based irritants that your body tries to fight. Like any infection, the body sends fighters in the form of cells in your blood that are specialized for the purpose of fighting bacteria and viruses. This is why inflamed gums are red and puffy and bleed easily when disturbed.
Periodontal or gum disease can be a very aggressive and painful infection. If left untreated, it can destroy the structures (bone, ligaments and gums collectively called “periodontium”), which protect the teeth and maintain the attachment to the jaw. It is important to treat gum disease early for best results.
In some cases aggressive treatment is required in order to control the gum disease and to restore health and appearance to the tooth-supporting bone and damaged gums. This surgical measure is used mainly in moderate and advanced conditions.
There are many types of gum surgeries your dentist may recommend once you develop any kind of gum disease. The type of surgery will depend upon your specific conditions and this can be discussed with your dentist. Certain factors including chronic illnesses, smoking, heredity and medications can make a person more susceptible to gum disease.
If you have developed gum disease which is very advanced, your dentist will recommend you the best choice of treatment from the following.
Referral – gum specialists are called Periodontists and they have years of specialized training in their field of expertise.
Pocket reduction – When gum disease becomes so advanced that dental cleanings are not effective, pocket reduction is considered. In this procedure, the dentist folds back the gums and removes the bacteria in the surrounding tissues, and reshapes damaged bone. This flap surgery allows access to the deeper pockets of infection to clean them. The gums are then sutured back into place in a way that reduces the depth of the space between the gum and the tooth (these spaces are called “pockets”).