The dentist is usually able to diagnose the condition of trench mouth by the physical examination of the gums and teeth. In some cases, X-ray examination is carried out to determine the extent of bony damage due to the infection.
If the cause of trench mouth is not known, the case may be referred back to the primary care physician who advises more blood tests and other examinations to find out the cause of the disease. A chronic undiagnosed disease like HIV/AIDS may also cause the disease.
Trench mouth usually responds well to the treatment and it is completely healed with medications within 2-3 weeks. Sometimes when the immune system is weak due to a chronic disease, the healing process is delayed.
The treatment approach for trench mouth includes the following:
Antibiotics: Bacterial infection is usually responsible for trench mouth. Therefore, antibiotics are used to prevent further growth of the bacteria and to control the infection.
Analgesics (Pain relievers): Trench mouth is a very painful and troublesome condition. Due to severe pain, chewing of food and proper cleaning of teeth is difficult. Pain relieving medicines are necessary to overcome these problems. In some cases, the dentist may also advise topical pain relieving medicines that are applied locally on the gums and surrounding areas.
Mouthwash: Mouth wash preparations containing antiseptics are used for rinsing the gums, teeth and mouth. These antiseptic rinses help in the treatment by limiting the bacterial count.
Cleaning of gums and teeth by the dentist: Initial cleaning of the gums and teeth is done by antiseptic preparations. Once the condition improves and the pain decreases, the dentist performs cleaning procedures known as scaling and root planing. In this way, the plaque or tartar collected below the gumline is removed and rough surfaces on the teeth are smoothened to prevent bacterial accumulation.
After this, the dentist advises the use of antiseptic solutions and a soft toothbrush for cleaning the mouth for a few days. When the healing process begins, regular use of toothbrush and floss is recommended to maintain proper dental hygiene.
Surgical intervention: Generally, medicines, dental cleaning procedures, and proper dental hygienic practices provide complete healing of trench mouth with little or no deformity. However, some cases may experience extensive bony damage, destruction of tissues, and loss of teeth. Surgical procedures are needed for the repair and correction of such cases.
The condition of trench mouth may be associated with certain difficulties and complications that are listed below:
- Difficulty and pain in chewing food while eating and swallowing.
- Pain and discomfort during the process of cleaning the teeth like brushing or flossing.
- Destruction and loss of gums and surrounding tissues, this can be temporary or permanent.
- Damage to bony tissue that can lead to the loss of teeth.