How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease (also known as "gum disease" or "periodontal infection") is a bacterial infection that penetrates into the gums and into the bone around your teeth, causing inflammation. Periodontal inflammation leads to bone loss and possibly tooth loss and may contribute to other medical conditions.
The periodontal infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal. There are generally two levels of treatment for this condition depending upon the severity of your infection.
Scaling & Root PlaningThis procedure is called, “Scaling and Root Planing", “Phase One Treatment" or “Initial Therapy". It is done under local anesthesia and is quite different from the routine dental cleaning or “deep cleaning" that is traditionally done in the general dentist's office. Sometimes an ultrasonic device is also used to remove heavy deposits of plaque and tartar.
Some antibiotics can enhance your periodontal treatment by decreasing the amount of active bacteria. In certain circumstances, placement of antibiotic medicine can also reduce tissue inflammation. When indicated, antibiotic therapy is done in conjunction with scaling and root planing.
Bite (occlusion) problems can worsen bone loss caused by periodontal disease An uneven bite or a tendency to clench or grind your teeth both cause undue stress on the underlying bone. A bite guard or other ways of adjusting the bite can reduce the pressure and help control the damage.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
If your infection has spread into the bone that supports your teeth, and is below the level that can be reached in non-surgical treatment, a surgical procedure may need to be performed. Surgery may be done to reduce the pocket depth and help regenerate bone and/or other tissue.
Periodontal surgery is generally done under local anesthetic, meaning that you are awake and pain free during the procedure. Additional medication is available to calm anxious patients. Please have an adult family member or friend prepared to give you a ride home.