The right periodontal treatment for you varies depending on the severity and type of disease present. Your dentist or hygienist can perform a complete evaluation and recommend the right treatment.
As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets or spaces between the gums and teeth fill with plaque, bacteria, tartar and debris, irritating the surrounding tissue. When irritants remain in place, damage occurs to the gums and, over time, to the bone supporting the teeth.
When the disease is caught in its early gingivitis stage and there has not yet been any permanent damage, one or two cleaning procedures are recommended as the first course of action. You will also get special instructions from your dentist about doing a better job with daily oral hygiene and be encouraged to visit the dentist regularly.
When the disease has reached a more advanced stage, deep cleaning called scaling and root planing is likely to be recommended. This is usually done under local anesthetic to one quadrant of the mouth at a time.
During this procedure, plaque, tartar and related toxins are removed both above and below the gum line and rough places on root surfaces are smoothed off so gums will adhere properly. As gum tissue heals, pockets decrease and size and periodontal disease is reduced or eliminated. Medications including special mouth rinses and an electric toothbrush are recommended in many cases to help with controlling the infection and aiding in healing.
In cases where pockets fail to heal after the root planing and scaling procedure, surgery will likely be required to reduce the depth of pockets so that teeth can be cleaned easier and more effectively. The dentist may also suggest seeing a periodontist, a special kind of dentist that works specifically on gums and the bone underneath them.