Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. This usually consists of placing a fine ultrasonic cleaning tip in between the tooth and gum tissue to remove any plaque and calculus below the gum line. This procedure is performed during root planing and in less advanced cases, shrinking these infected gum pockets can eliminate diseased sites. Then the patient can personally maintain these areas with routine brushing and flossing.
In our practice, even in most severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical periodontal therapy most often precedes surgical therapy. This is done so that the overall tissue quality is improved prior to surgery and also limits the areas of required surgery.
Non-Surgical Treatment Methods
Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. The first step is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gum line. The tooth roots may also be planed to smooth the root surface allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment.
Special antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, the doctors may use time-released antibiotic gels or chemically treated chips, which are quick, easy and painless. Since they aren’t taken internally and can be placed exactly where needed, the effect is more powerful. They do not require removal once in place and will be resorbed by the body. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for the doctors to thoroughly remove plaque and tarter. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, minor surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.
Supportive Periodontal Therapy
For periodontal procedures to be successful in the long term and to lessen the dangers of complications we strongly advise our patients to schedule Supportive Periodontal Therapy appointments. Beyond just removing stains and calculus that have formed on your teeth, careful attention is spent in evaluating your teeth to determine if your periodontal disease is in remission or if there is an indication that the disease may be progressing. If we see any signs of progression, we remove the bacteria from below you gum line before irreversible bone loss occurs. Early detection allows a more conservative and cost saving approach to treating any changes in your periodontal disease. Also, as a health benefit to our patients, we perform an oral cancer screening at each of the supportive periodontal treatment appointments.
The American Academy of Periodontology recommend that patients with periodontal disease have supportive periodontal treatment appointments every three to four months. Adherence to this recommendation has proven, through years of clinical research, to be the one overwhelming factor that influences whether or not patients will keep their teeth. Please call today to schedule an appointment with one of our dental hygienists.