Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a prevalent oral health issue that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums and jaw bones. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and have systemic implications on overall health. Fortunately, there are various methods for treating periodontal disease, ranging from non-surgical approaches to more advanced surgical interventions. In this post, we will explore some of the different methods dentists like Dr. Gerard, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Pieper use to treat periodontal disease.
Scaling and Root Planing
Description: Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure that involves deep cleaning of the teeth and roots to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from below the gum line. Dental instruments, such as ultrasonic scalers and hand scalers, are used to carefully remove these deposits.
Root planing is the process of smoothing the root surfaces of the teeth. After scaling, our dentist or dental hygienist uses specialized instruments to remove any remaining plaque and smooth out rough areas on the roots of the teeth.
Purpose: Scaling is a crucial step in managing and eliminating the bacterial infection causing periodontal disease and promoting the healing of the gums. Root planing smooth surface on the tooth roots, making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to these surfaces. Smoothing the roots also helps the gums reattach to the teeth, promoting healing and reducing the depth of gum pockets.
Description: In some cases, our dentists may prescribe antibiotics to complement other periodontal treatments. These can be in the form of oral antibiotics or topical antibiotics applied directly to the gum pockets.
Purpose: Antibiotics help to control bacterial infection and reduce inflammation.
Description: Laser therapy involves using a dental laser to remove infected gum tissue and promote the regeneration of healthy tissue.
Purpose: Laser therapy is less invasive than traditional surgery and can be effective in eliminating bacteria, reducing pocket depths, and promoting gum health. The energy from the laser is absorbed by pigments in the bacteria, causing them to break down. The laser can selectively remove diseased or inflamed gum tissue without affecting healthy tissue. This process is known as laser ablation. Removing the diseased tissue allows for better visualization of the root surfaces and facilitates improved access for scaling and root planing. Laser energy has the ability to stimulate cellular activity and promote tissue regeneration. This can aid in the healing process by encouraging the formation of new, healthy tissue in the treated areas. Lasers also have the capability to seal blood vessels and nerve endings, which can result in reduced bleeding and discomfort during and after the procedure. This also results in faster healing times.
Flap Surgery: In cases where non-surgical methods are not sufficient, our dentists may recommend flap surgery. This involves lifting the gums to remove tartar and recontouring damaged bone before securing the gums back in place.
Bone Grafts: Severe periodontal disease can lead to bone loss. Bone grafts involve transplanting bone tissue to promote bone regeneration.
Tissue Grafts: This involves taking tissue from one area (often the roof of the mouth) and attaching it to areas where gum tissue has receded.
Maintenance and Follow-up Care
Description: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial for maintaining periodontal health. Patients with a history of periodontal disease may require more frequent visits for ongoing monitoring and maintenance.
Purpose: Consistent follow-up care helps prevent the recurrence of periodontal disease and allows for early detection of any potential issues.
Now You Know
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that requires prompt and appropriate treatment. The choice of treatment method depends on the severity of the disease and individual patient factors. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, is essential for preventing periodontal disease.
If you suspect you have gum disease or have been diagnosed with it, consult with our dentists to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs. Early intervention and proper care are key to preserving your oral health and preventing the progression of periodontal disease.