What is Periodontal Disease?
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!
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.
Perio charting is performed by our hygienist to evaluate the health of your gums with a periodontal probe. This instrument has 1 mm gradations on it which allows the hygienist to measure the height of the gum versus the height of the bone. If there has been some bone loss this number will tend to run higher. In general, 1-3 mm pockets are normal, 4-5 mm are borderline and 6 mm and above need some form of periodontal treatment ranging from scaling and root planing to surgery.
Our goal is to prevent these pockets from increasing and not to have to refer you to a periodontist for treatment.
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will 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 periodontal cleaning scaling and root planing (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 (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Antibiotic treatment for periodontal (gum) disease such as Arestin is placed in these pockets as an adjunct to scaling and root planing procedures for reduction of pocket depth in patients with adult periodontitis. Mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.