Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Dr. Andow and his dental hygienists will evaluate to see if you have periodontal disease and, if necessary, recommend the appropriate treatment.
Periodontal disease progresses as the 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 permanent damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings may be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special non-surgical periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one section of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, hard tartar, soft plaque and the toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, specialized teeth cleaning devices and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control the infection and healing.
In rare instances, if the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Dr. Andow may recommend that you see a periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).