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When Is It Too Late To Reverse Gum Disease?

Posted on December 22, 2023

When Is It Too Late To Reverse Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a prevalent oral health issue that progresses gradually, potentially leading to severe complications if left unaddressed. More than 65% of Canadians have experienced some signs and symptoms of gum disease at some point. In its early stages, gingivitis is reversible with a healthy lifestyle and regular dental care at home. The outlook changes when gum disease progresses, but that doesn't mean it cannot be reversed. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, visit a periodontist near you in Whitby or Oshawa to explore treatment options like gum grafting, guided tissue regeneration, periodontal flap surgery, and more. To explore your options, book a consultation at The Perio Centre, where Dr. Adam Ohayon and our team of skilled experts will assess the stage of your gum disease and make tailored recommendations so you can restore health to your smile. 

If you want to learn more about the progression of gum disease and treatment options with a leading periodontist near you, read on. 

Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease evolves in stages, with gingivitis being the initial phase. At this point, the inflammation affects the gums, causing redness, swelling, inflammation, and bleeding when brushing or flossing. If detected early, gingivitis is reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional dental care.

If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, a more severe stage. Periodontitis damages the gums and underlying bone, forming pockets between the teeth and gums. These pockets become a breeding ground for bacteria, accelerating the disease's progression and causing irreversible damage to the supporting structures of the teeth.

Signs of Advanced Periodontal Disease

As periodontal disease progresses to its advanced stages, some signs become more pronounced, indicating severe damage to the gums and supporting structures:

  • Deep Periodontal Pockets: Advanced periodontitis often leads to the formation of deep pockets between the gums and teeth, typically deeper than 5 millimetres. These pockets are a breeding ground for bacteria and are difficult to clean with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Gum Recession: Receding gums, characterized by the exposure of tooth roots, indicate significant gum tissue loss. This not only affects the aesthetic appearance but also leads to increased sensitivity and vulnerability to decay.
  • Loose or Shifting Teeth: As the disease progresses, the supporting bone and tissues deteriorate, causing teeth to loosen or shift position. This can result in bite misalignment and difficulty in chewing.
  • Visible Changes in Gum Tissue: Gums may appear swollen, reddish-purple, or tender. In advanced stages, they might bleed easily, especially during brushing or eating.
  • Persistent Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath or a persistent unpleasant taste in the mouth, known as halitosis, can be a sign of advanced gum disease due to the buildup of bacteria in the oral cavity.
  • Abscess Formation: Pus formation in the gums or between teeth and gums indicates a severe infection, often accompanied by pain, swelling, and sometimes even fever.
  • Bone Loss: X-rays may reveal significant bone loss around the teeth, indicating advanced periodontal disease that has damaged the underlying bone structures.

Recognizing these signs is crucial as advanced periodontal disease requires immediate attention from a periodontist for comprehensive assessment and tailored treatment to prevent further deterioration of oral health. If you've been struggling with these symptoms or have been advised to visit a periodontist by your dentist, book your visit at The Perio Centre for a consultation with Dr. Adam Ohayon. 

Assessing Irreversibility

Reversibility in gum disease treatment hinges on timely intervention. While gingivitis is generally reversible with prompt and adequate care, once periodontitis sets in, treatment options change and become more complicated. Regardless of how far along gum disease has progressed, you should always have it checked out by a periodontist. Dr. Adam Ohayon and The Perio Centre team will determine the best possible outcome for your smile using advanced imaging technology and years of expertise. At its worst, periodontal diseases can cause severe damage to the bone and tissues supporting the teeth, causing tooth loss. Dental implants are a viable option even if you've lost one or more teeth to gum disease. The premium tooth replacement option can give you years of functionality when placed by a trained and experienced periodontist in Whitby.

Treatment Options for Gum Disease

When gum disease reaches an advanced stage where irreversible damage has occurred, treatments like gum graft surgery and guided tissue regeneration become crucial.

Gum Grafting

Gum graft surgery, a common procedure, involves taking tissue from one area of the mouth and grafting it onto the affected gum area. The goal is to cover exposed roots, reduce sensitivity, prevent further gum recession, and enhance the appearance of the smile. Gum grafting doesn't reverse the damage caused by gum disease but helps manage its consequences, providing structural support and improving oral health.

Periodontal Flap Surgery

This surgical procedure involves lifting the gums to thoroughly access and clean the root surfaces. Periodontists use periodontal flap surgery to remove tartar deposits, bacteria, and diseased tissue from deep within the periodontal pockets. This prevents infections, abscesses, and pain. Once cleaned, the gums are repositioned snugly against the teeth, promoting healing and reducing pocket depth. Periodontal flap surgery aids in slowing disease progression, facilitates better oral hygiene, and enhances the potential for gum tissue reattachment.

Guided Tissue Regeneration

Guided tissue regeneration is another advanced treatment for severe gum disease offered at The Perio Centre. This procedure involves using barrier membranes and/or tissue-stimulating proteins to encourage the growth of new bone and gum tissue, aiding in regenerating the structures that support the teeth. Guided Tissue Regeneration aims to restore lost tissues and bone, improving the chances of successful gum regeneration.

Limitations and Possibilities of Periodontal Treatments 

While gum graft surgery and guided tissue regeneration offer significant advancements in treating advanced gum disease, their success relies on several factors, including the extent of damage, overall oral health, and patient compliance. In some cases, these interventions might not entirely reverse the damage caused by severe gum disease but can significantly improve oral health and prevent further deterioration.

How to Respond to Advancing Gum Disease

Seeking the expertise of a periodontist is crucial in assessing the stage of gum disease and determining the appropriate treatment. As an experienced team of periodontists, The Perio Centre specializes in diagnosing and treating gum-related issues, offering a range of interventions, including surgical and non-surgical options. It's always possible to explore your options with a periodontist near you. Intervene sooner and protect the longevity of your smile. 

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