There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments that the dentist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the gums, teeth, and jawbone. The dentist will perform a complete periodontal exam before recommending or performing any treatment.
Here are some of the more common treatments (in order of severity) for periodontal disease:
- Scaling and root planing – In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and tartar, which initially caused the infection, must be removed. The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection. A prescription mouthwash may also be incorporated into the daily cleaning routine.
- Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been heavily damaged, regrowth can be encouraged through grafting procedures. A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
- Pocket elimination surgery – Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment, which can be performed to reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums. This reduces the gum area in which bacteria can accumulate.
- Dental implants – When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the functionality and aesthetics of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone. You can read more about dental implants here [link to page on implants].
Brushing and flossing at home is important and helps to control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention. Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your dentist will recommend that you have regular periodontal cleanings, usually four times a year. At these maintenance appointments, the gum pocket depths will be checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and tartar that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line. Good oral hygiene at home and periodontal maintenance with the dentist are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control.
As with all aspects of dentistry, regular dental exams and cleanings are invaluable for avoiding gum disease. If it has been more than six months since your last dental appointment, please contact us to ensure your continued dental health