Periodontal Treatments

Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of the gum and bone that surround and support the teeth.

Periodontal treatments include a variety of options based on the nature and extent of the gum problem in question. Your dentist will always start with considering the least invasive and simplest solution. However, in severe cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary.

When plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth, underneath your gums, the gum tissue gets irritated and causes an inflammatory response, usually characterized by bleeding gums. This inflammatory response, if left untreated, causes the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth to recede. If caught in the early stages it can usually be treated by Scaling and Root Planing, also known as a “deep cleaning.”.

Scaling and Root Planing

The first thing a dentist does to help treat gum disease is a special type of cleaning called Scaling and Root Planing. During this periodontal procedure a specially trained dental hygienist or your dentist will use instruments picks and an ultrasonic cleaning device to remove plaque and tartar from under the gum line and around the tooth where flossing and brushing can’t reach.  This new healthy, clean surface makes it easier for the gum to reattach itself to the tooth.

When gum disease is addressed early enough, this scaling and root planning procedure is frequently all the periodontal treatment that’s needed.  You must, however, keep up your regular dental care,including a healthy diet, daily brushing and flossing and regular trips to your dentist. Without proper care, gum problems can easily recur.

If the gums and bone surrounding your teeth are too damaged to be repaired with scaling and root planing, the dentist may recommend surgical treatment.

Here are some of the more common types of periodontal surgery.Your dentist will, carefully diagnose your gum problem and recommend the procedure that’s best for you.

Reduction of Pocket Depth

When the mouth is healthy, the teeth are held firmly in place by the bone and gum tissue that surrounds and supports them.  Periodontal disease weakens the tissue and bone, leaving open spaces, called pockets, around the teeth.  The larger and deeper the pockets, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, thus causing more damage.  If left untreated, the structure may degrade to the point where the affected tooth becomes loose and the bone loss negatively affects the neighboring teeth.

With pocket reduction surgery, the gum tissue is folded back and any bacteria, hiding underneath are removed along with hardened plaque or tartar that has collected over time.  The healthy gum tissue is then sewn back in place.  This eliminates the pockets and makes the teeth easier to clean.

Bone Regeneration

During a regeneration procedure the gum tissue is folded back, in a similar way as is done in a pocket depth reduction surgery.  However, depending on your situation, a bone graft may be performed to stimulate new bone growth or a special kind of protein may be applied that stimulates tissue growth in the areas most affected by disease.

Soft Tissue Graft

Gum recession can occur as a result of gum disease.  When the gums recede the root of the tooth becomes exposed.  This can make the teeth appear longer and can also cause sensitivity to hot, cold and/or sweets. 
When a dentist performs a soft tissue graft he or she takes tissue from the top of your mouth or another location and sews it into the gum area, restoring the gum line to its original position.  A soft tissue graft procedure can be done for dental health or cosmetic reasons.

If you experience any of these, contact our dental office and make an appointment.  We are here to help: (703) 318-8200