Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth.

Without proper care, plaque and bacteria begins to accumulate around and even extend below your gum tissue. The first stage of periodontal disease presents as gingivitis, or red inflamed bleeding gums. In this stage of periodontal disease, the tissues can be restored to health if professional dental care is sought out and proper procedures are implemented at home.

However, if this infection is allowed to persist, the plaque and bacteria around and below your gum tissue accumulates, and begins to destroy the bone surrounding and supporting your teeth. This stage of periodontal disease is referred to as periodontitis.

Once periodontal disease has reached this stage, it is no longer reversible, but can still be treated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47.2% of Americans over the age of 30 have mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis. If periodontitis is left untreated, the chance for tooth loss increases. Research has also shown that periodontal disease is associated with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Prevention

As your dental professionals, we are here to help prevent and/or treat periodontal disease. Daily brushing and flossing, when done properly, can help remove plaque. However professional dental cleanings are needed to remove plaque and calculus (tarter) from places that are harder for a toothbrush or floss to reach.

We can help modify and improve your home care technique and help you identify risk factors that can increase your susceptibility to periodontal disease. These risk factors can include but are not limited to: diabetes, tobacco use, gingivitis, genetic predisposition, stress, certain medications, hormonal changes, and even malposition or crooked teeth.

Treatment

We recommend treatment of periodontal disease with these nonsurgical procedures: Scaling and root planning (SRP), laser therapy, and/or antibiotic treatment.

  • Scaling and root planning (SRP): A thorough cleaning with the use of ultrasonic and hand instrumentation to remove calculus (tarter), bacteria, and bacterial toxins from the root surface of the tooth.
  • Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy: After the root of the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, a laser can be used to help kill bacteria and stimulate healing. The laser energy is attracted to and helps eliminate different components of the diseased tissue. This non-invasive and comfortable procedure, when used in conjunction with SRP therapy, has led to far better long term tissue stability than SRP alone.
  • Arestin antibiotic treatment: An antibiotic that can be placed between infected gum tissue and the tooth surface. This can be done after SRP as another tool to help kill bacteria.

Patients are often unable to effectively clean below the gum line in areas where the supporting bone has been destroyed. Bacteria will begin to accumulate in these areas again and can re-infect the tissue and bone in as little as 3-4 months. For this reason, after nonsurgical periodontal therapy has been completed patients are moved to a shorter recall frequency for Periodontal Maintenance cleanings. The patient is scheduled for this one hour cleaning every three to four months depending on the severity of the periodontal disease. If bone and gum tissues are not responding well to nonsurgical therapy the patient is often referred to a Periodontist who specializes in the treatment of periodontal disease.