The goals of treatment for gingivitis are to identify and eliminate the factors that are making the person more susceptible to gum disease. Most factors can be eliminated by establishing more consistent and thorough oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings. If there are certain factors such as smoking or uncontrolled diabetes that are contributing to the gum disease, they need to be addressed or eliminated to have success in reversing gingivitis. After the plaque and tartar are removed by a dentist or hygienist, the patient can usually reverse gum disease by brushing and flossing after every meal and using a daily mouth rinse. These are the over-the-counter treatments that everyone should use to prevent and cure gum disease.
In cases where gingivitis has led to periodontal disease and there are deep pockets that are difficult to clean, the patient may require deep scaling and root planing to clean teeth that are surrounded by deep pockets. They may need surgical treatment to gain access to all the tooth surfaces for a thorough cleaning. This surgical procedure is called flap surgery, and can be combined with a pocket reduction surgery to make the areas around the teeth easier for the patient to clean with brushing and flossing. This procedure consists of numbing the gums, then lifting them back to clean the teeth and sometimes reshape the bone. The gums are then repositioned around the teeth so there aren't the deep pockets that existed before treatment.
Soft tissue grafts are used to cover up root surfaces that have been exposed by receding gums. This can help eliminate sensitive teeth and protect the root surfaces that are softer and more difficult to clean.
Antibiotic therapy can be combined in various ways to help treat gingivitis and periodontal disease. Chlorhexidine is an antibiotic mouthwash that can be used under direction of a dentist to help reduce the bacteria that cause gum
disease. Antibiotics in the form of pellets can be placed in deep gum pockets to kill stubborn bacteria.