How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease (also known as "gum disease" or "periodontal infection") is a bacterial infection that penetrates into the gums and into the bone around your teeth, causing inflammation. Periodontal inflammation leads to bone loss and possibly tooth loss and may contribute to other medical conditions.
The periodontal infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal. There are generally two levels of treatment for this condition depending upon the severity of your infection.
Scaling & Root PlaningThis procedure is called, “Scaling and Root Planing", “Phase One Treatment" or “Initial Therapy". It is done under local anesthesia and is quite different from the routine dental cleaning or “deep cleaning" that is traditionally done in the general dentist's office. Sometimes an ultrasonic device is also used to remove heavy deposits of plaque and tartar.
Bite Correction or Malocclusal
Malocclusion means the teeth are not aligned properly when the jaws are closed. Proper alignment allows for effective chewing and distribution of biting forces equally over all of the teeth. If this balance is not ideal it can lead to broken teeth and tooth loss. Clenching and grinding are the most frequent cause of malocclusion.
Dental or occlusal adjustment is a fairly gentle procedure. Typically, it involves fixing the surface of one or more teeth to create a more solid bite. This prevents individual tooth stress and often relieves jaw pain.
In addition to occlusal adjustment, sometimes it’s necessary to have impressions and get a custom made bite guard.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
If your infection has spread into the bone that supports your teeth, and is below the level that can be reached in non-surgical treatment, a surgical procedure may need to be performed. Surgery may be done to reduce the pocket depth and help regenerate bone and/or other tissue.
Periodontal surgery is generally done under local anesthetic, meaning that you are awake and pain free during the procedure. Additional medication is available to calm anxious patients. Please have an adult family member or friend prepared to give you a ride home.