What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can range in severity from gum inflammation to major damage of the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth.
Proactive treatment can help stop or slow the progression of gum disease. However, if treatment isn’t taken seriously, or if periodontal disease is left untreated, the condition can get worse and teeth may be lost.
How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease is treated in several different ways. Treatment can be broken into two different categories: non-surgical and surgical.
- Professional dental cleaning: Plaque and tartar are removed from above and below the gum line of all the teeth. If the beginning signs of gum disease are present, the dentist may recommend professional cleanings more than twice a year to try and prevent periodontal disease from becoming serious.
- Scaling and root planing: This is a deep-cleaning method that is done under a local anesthetic. Scaling (where plaque and tartar are scraped away from above and below the gum line) is performed, followed by planing (rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth). By smoothing the rough spots on tooth roots, bacteria is removed and this provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
- Flap & Pocket Reduction Surgery: Gums are lifted back so that tartar can be removed. Any damaged bone may be smoothed in order to limit areas where bacteria can build up and hide. The gums are then placed snugly around the tooth. The goal is to reduce the space where bacteria can fester and cause serious health problems.
- Guided Tissue Regeneration: If the bone that supports the teeth has been destroyed due to periodontal disease, this procedure is done to stimulate the bone and gum tissue to grow. This is done in combination with flap surgery. A small piece of mesh-like fabric is also inserted between the bone and gum tissue.
- Bone Grafts: Fragments of bone or synthetic bone are used to replace bone that was destroyed by periodontal disease. The grafts help encourage bone regrowth, which leads to more stability for the teeth.
- Soft Tissue Grafts: Grafted tissue (often taken from the roof of the mouth) is used to reinforce thin gums or to fill in places where gums have receded. The tissue is stitched into place.
- Bone Surgery: Craters in the bone are smoothed. These craters form from moderate to advanced bone loss. After flap surgery is performed, the bone surrounding the tooth may be reshaped in order to decrease the craters so that bacteria does not collect in the pockets and grow.
Non-surgical treatment is usually used as a first resort to treating periodontal disease. Scaling and root planing is frequently all that is needed for periodontal treatment. Surgery becomes necessary when the tissue around the teeth becomes unhealthy and cannot be repaired without surgery.
For any questions regarding periodontal treatment, call our office at (407) 351-3213.