More than 47 percent of American adults over age 30 have gum disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you're one of the many, understanding what gum disease treatments are available can make the difference between a healthy mouth and a lifetime of periodontal disease. Before you run to the oral surgeon, talk to your dentist or periodontist about what non-surgical methods may work for your situation.

Even though some patients require a gum flap surgery or bone and tissue grafts, it's possible that a less invasive gum disease treatment may be right for you. During your consultation, ask the pro a few pointed questions that will help both of you to decide what type of fix is the best.

1. Will medications alone work? Oral antibiotics, antiseptic gels, enzyme suppressants and chips that control bacteria through antiseptic medication may help to treat gum disease. That said, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there isn't enough data on the use of medications to say that they can 100 percent treat gum disease without the need for surgery. In most cases, medications are used along with another procedure such as root planing and scaling.

2. What is root planing and scaling, and is it surgery? Root planing and scaling is a somewhat invasive procedure, but it isn't the same as surgery. Think of it like an extra-deep cleaning that goes below the gum line. Unlike the cleaning that the hygienist does during your regular dental appointment, planing and scaling involves removing plaque, tartar and buildup from the root. Depending on your periodontist's procedures, you may get a numbing gel or other local anesthetic before the cleaning begins.

3. Will at-home cleaning help? At-home cleaning is always necessary to fight gum disease. If your gum disease is mild or just starting, your home care routine can stop the spread of the infection and possibly eliminate the need for any further treatment. While this isn't the case all of the time, if your dental professional feels that you haven't progressed to the point where you need medical or surgical intervention, up your mouth health routine. You'll need to go beyond just a simple brush here and there. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes twice a day. You should also floss to remove any of the leftover particles that the toothbrush misses.

Treating gum disease isn't a one-size-fits-all process. Your unique situation, overall mouth health and dentist's opinion all play parts in the type of treatment that you will get. Before you make up your mind on a course of action, talk to the expert and ask what the pros and cons are of each option.