Periodontal Treatments

Treatment Options

If you've been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on the details of your situation and the severity of the problem. We always start with the least invasive options, which are non-surgical. However, in more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you will need to undergo a specialized cleaning known as Scaling and Root Planing (SRP). During this procedure, an ultrasonic device is used to remove plaque and tarter where regular cleaning devices cannot reach: beneath the gum line, on the tooth, and around the root. Removing plaque and tarter beneath the gums provides a clean surface that allows for the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. However, as with many dental procedures, after-care is vital. In order to maintain health and prevent future reoccurrences of gum disease, more frequent cleanings are required following SRP. These cleanings, known as Periodontal Maintenances, can occur at intervals of three or four months.

Laser Bacteria Reduction (LBR)

With more advanced cases of gum disease, SRP is often not enough. In these cases, your dental provider may recommend laser therapy (Laser Bacteria Reduction or LBR) in conjunction with your SRP or during your follow-up visits (Periodontal Maintenance) in order to better treat your disease. Use of the dental laser helps to reduce/destroy the bacteria deep within the periodontal pockets which cause inflammation, attachment loss, and gum disease. By reducing the number of bacteria, the laser provides decontamination of the periodontal pocket allowing the tissue to heal by promoting tissue reattachment and shrinkage of the pocket. 

Surgical Treatment Options

If the tissue or bone surrounding your teeth is too damaged to be repaired with non-surgical treatment, several surgical procedures are available to prevent severe damage and to restore a healthy smile. We will recommend the procedure that is best suited to the condition of your teeth and gums. Following is a list of common types of periodontal surgery:

  • Pocket Depth Reduction
    In a healthy mouth, the teeth are firmly surrounded by gum tissue and securely supported by the bones of the jaw. Periodontal disease damages these tissues and bones, leaving open spaces around the teeth that we call pockets. The larger these pockets are, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to more and more damage over time. Eventually the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either falls out or needs to be removed.

    During pocket reduction procedures (also known as “flap surgery”), the gum tissue is folded back to remove the bacteria hiding underneath, as well as the hardened plaque and tartar that have collected. It may also be necessary to remove any tissue that is too damaged to survive. The healthy tissue is then sewn back into place. Now that the tooth and root are free of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, and the pockets have been reduced, the gums can reattach to the teeth.

  • Regeneration
    When the bone and tissue supporting the teeth have been lost due to severe gum disease, it can be restored with a regeneration procedure. This process begins with folding back the gum tissue and removing the bacteria, plaque and tartar. Depending on your situation, a bone graft may be preformed to stimulate new bone growth, or it may require a special kind of protein that stimulates tissue growth to repair the areas that have been destroyed by the disease.

  • Soft-Tissue Graft
    A frequent symptom of gum disease is gum recession (also called gingival recession). As the gums recede, more of the roots are revealed. This can make teeth appear longer and can also create sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or food. It also exposes the tooth to increased damage from gum disease, as bacteria, plaque, and tartar attack the surface of the tooth and the root.

    During a soft-tissue graft, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is sewed to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. This procedure can also be performed for cosmetic reasons.

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