Treatment for periodontal (gum) disease can vary from patient to patient. An individualized treatment plan will be discussed at the first appointment. Treatment recommendations are intended to improve periodontal health and help patients keep their natural teeth as long as possible.
Initial Periodontal Therapy (Root Planing/Scaling)
Typically, this is the initial phase of treatment in reducing inflammation by removing plaque and hardened deposits. This is accomplished through careful and thorough instrumentation of the tooth’s root surfaces to remove plaque, calculus (hardened tartar) and to disrupt bacterial toxins.
After initial therapy has been completed, patients return for their first periodontal maintenance appointment and re-evaluation. At this appointment, bone levels and inflammation will be remeasured. Although improved, non-surgical therapy may not achieve optimum periodontal health. Often times, pocket reduction procedures are indicated to repair destruction from the disease, access debris in areas of advanced disease, and aid in homecare practices. Either way, after treatment, patients will require ongoing therapy to maintain periodontal health.
POCKET REDUCTION PROCEDURES
Periodontal pocket reduction procedures/surgery, often times the secondary phase of treatment, is recommended when initial therapy does not repair unhealthy gum tissue to an optimum level. Ideally, gum tissue and bone should fit tightly around the tooth. Periodontal disease causes the bone and gum tissue to be destroyed causing pockets around the tooth. Gradually, these pockets become deeper allowing harmful bacteria to flourish. If left untreated, tooth loss or the need for tooth removal is likely.
During pocket reduction procedures, a periodontist will surgically access the most advanced areas of periodontal (gum) disease. The disease causing bacteria and debris will be removed. In some cases, bone can be severely destroyed causing defects. When this occurs, the periodontist may be able to use regenerative materials to reverse some of the negative effects. This can be accomplished by bone grafting which encourages the body to regenerate bone and tissue.
After pocket reduction has been accomplished, individuals will be able to better clean and maintain the newer, reduced pocket depths. The combination of healthier gums, improved home care, and regular maintenance by a professional will significantly increase the likelihood of keeping your natural teeth. The normal recommended interval for periodontal maintenance (cleaning) is every three (3) months. A healthy mouth decreases the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal (gum) disease.
PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE (CLEANING)
Routinely referred to as a periodontal cleaning, periodontal maintenance is implemented following initial periodontal therapy and/or after pocket reduction procedures. Maintenance continues at varying intervals but typically a three month schedule. This will be determined by your dentist and periodontist.
Many patients question the need for more frequent periodontal cleanings. Research indicates it takes approximately 90 days for bacteria to recolonize and start causing destruction. The goal is to maintain gains accomplished with treatment and prevent progression of the disease. Keep in mind, there is no cure for Periodontal (Gum) Disease. It can only be managed and maintained.