Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate the stage and degree of the periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.

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 for an extended period of time, they can cause damage to the gums and will eventually damage the bone that supports the teeth.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease

There are many nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can be performed to correct or control periodontal disease.  Treatment choices depend upon the exact stage and degree of the disease process and the condition of the teeth, gums and the supporting bone.  

If the disease is caught in the early stages (gingivitis) and no damage has been done to the supporting structures, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended.  You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits to aid in the elimination of plaque. 

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special cleaning called scaling and root planing will be recommended.   In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed.  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 the gum tissue to heal and the pockets to shrink.   The gum pockets may also be treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection.  A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines to also control infection and aid in the healing process.  

 If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce the pocket depths.  Reduced pocket depths make the teeth easier to clean and maintain.  Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone of teeth).

Surgical treatment of periodontal disease may include:

  • Pocket elimination surgery – Pocket elimination surgery is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums.  Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate bone irregularities around and between teeth.
  • Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures.  A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.