Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues.  When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no bone loss and deep pocketing have occurred, one to two regular cleanings are generally recommended.  In some cases, people have severe bacterial infections with only the signs and symptoms of gingivitis.  In such cases, we may recommend multiple visits for bacterial examinations to be sure the infection is under control.  You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.  Oral irrigation (using a Waterpik or Viajet at home) is an integral part of home care for treating bacterial infections under the gums, and we may recommend one for you depending on the results of your bacterial examination.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages (periodontitis), a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) will be recommended.  It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb.  In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning).  We will also irrigate the gum pockets with an antimicrobial agent to reduce the bacterial populations.  This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink.  Antibiotics, special medicated mouth rinses, an oral irrigator (Waterpik or Viajet), and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and promote healing.  In most cases of periodontitis, we will have you come back for follow-up bacterial examinations to make sure the bacterial populations and activity have been reduced.  In cases where the bacterial infection does not respond well to routine therapy, we may recommend local or systemic antibiotics in addition to your regular home and professional care. 

Just as medical doctors treat the cause of infections first by proper diagnosis, and then by administration of antibiotics or antimicrobial agents to eliminate the infection, we believe in doing the same.  Proper diagnosis through bacterial examinations and proper treatment using non-surgical techniques is an effective, non-invasive, and inexpensive way to treat your periodontal condition.

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