Treatment

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Methods of treatment for periodontal disease will depend on the type and severity of the disease.  Your dental hygienist and dentist will evaluate your teeth and gums for periodontal disease, and when needed, they will recommend appropriate specialized treatment.

Periodontal disease occurs when the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gum becomes filled with plaque, tartar, and bacteria.  This accumulation causes irritation to the tissues surrounding the teeth.  When these irritants are allowed to remain in place, they cause damage to the gums. As the disease progresses, they eventually damage the bone that supports the teeth!

When the disease is detected in the early stage (called gingivitis), before permanent damage is done, treatment may be as simple as one or two careful cleanings by a skilled dental hygienist.  In such a case, the patient will also be given detailed instructions on ways of improving daily oral hygiene habits—and he / she will also be encouraged to establish a pattern of regular, professional dental cleanings.

In the event that the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, it may be necessary to schedule a special periodontal cleaning called “scaling and root planing” (sometimes just called deep cleaning).  This process is usually done one quadrant (1/4 of the mouth) at a time, and the affected area will be anesthetized for the procedure.  This intense cleaning method entails removal of plaque, tartar, and toxins from above and below the gum line (called scaling) and rough spots found on root surfaces are smoothed (called planing).

This procedure enables gum tissues to heal and sulcus pockets to shrink to a more normal size.  When a case is this severe, it is common for a dentist to recommend medications and special medicated mouth rinses. An electric tooth brush may also be recommended to aid in control of infection and to promote healing.

If scaling and root planning do not result in proper healing, it may be necessary to perform periodontal surgery to reduce pocket depths and make the teeth easier to clean.  Your dentist may also refer you to a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone) for advanced treatment.