If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, a variety of treatment options are available, depending on the details of your situation and the severity of the problem. We always start with the least invasive options, which are non-surgical. However, in more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
The first line of defense against gum disease is a unique type of cleaning called “scaling and root planing.” In this procedure, an ultrasonic cleaning device is used to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth where regular cleaning devices can’t reach: under the gum line, on the tooth, and around the root.
Then the rough surface of the tooth and the root are smoothed out (planed). In addition, antimicrobials such as Arestin or bacteostatins like chlorhexadine may be used to aid in pocket reduction. This creates a healthy, clean surface that makes it easier for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth.
If you address your gum disease before it becomes severe, scaling and root planing may be the only treatment you need. A re-evaluation of the success of this treatment commonly occurs 4 to 6 weeks afterward.
However, as with any dental procedure that requires patients to do their homework, after-care is vital. In order to keep your teeth in good shape and avoid future occurrences of gum disease, you must brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco use, and schedule regular dental checkups.
Even after a successful scaling and root planing, if you don’t attend to your teeth properly, it’s quite likely you’ll develop gum disease again.
Surgical Treatment Options
If the tissue or bone surrounding your teeth is too damaged to be repaired with non-surgical treatment, several surgical procedures are available to prevent severe damage and to restore a healthy smile. We will recommend the procedure that is best suited to the condition of your teeth and gums.
The following is a list of common types of periodontal surgery:
Pocket Depth Reduction
In a healthy mouth, the teeth are firmly surrounded by gum tissue and securely supported by the bones of the jaw. Periodontal disease damages these tissues and bones, to leave open spaces around the teeth that we call pockets. The larger these pockets are, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to more and more damage over time. Eventually, the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either falls out or has to be removed. New advances in bone grafting can avoid this unhappy ending.
LANAP or Lazer Assisted New Attachment Procedure. This advance in the treatment of severe periodontal disease has shown significantly improved results. Patients have reported surprisingly less discomfort and less time in treatment. Should the need ever arise, we would refer our patients to our preferred periodontist, Dr. Gregory Conte.
A frequent symptom of gum disease is gum recession (also called gingival recession). As the gums recede, more of the roots are revealed. This can make teeth appear longer and can also heighten sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or food. It also exposes the tooth to increased damage from gum disease, as bacteria, plaque, and tartar attack the surface of the tooth and the root.
During a soft-tissue graft, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is sewed to the gum area, to cover the roots and restore the gum line to its original, healthy location. This procedure can also be performed for cosmetic reasons.