The way in which we go about treating periodontitis is, as you might imagine, directly related to the severity of the condition and the symptoms that you display.
The first step will usually be the same in most cases: a deep clean of the affected and surrounding area.
This is a conservative, non-surgical treatment called scaling and root planing (SRP) and may be conducted by your dentist or dental hygienist.
Scales and other Measures
The first part of this treatment is the scaling process.
This involves scraping the teeth, both above and below the gum line and is designed to remove the plaque and tartar that has built upon the surface of your teeth and their roots.
This is followed by the planing element of the treatment, in which any roughness on the roots of your teeth is smoothed away to prevent bacteria from gathering again.
This may sound unpleasant, and it is, but a local anaesthetic can be used to prevent any discomfort.
After this process, the gums should heal and reattach themselves to the healthy, clean surfaces of the teeth.
Within a few weeks, your specialist will evaluate how well you’re healing and decide if further treatment is necessary.
Pocket Reduction Procedure
Once you’ve undergone the scaling and root planing process, which can take a number of visits, your specialist will assess whether or not the gum tissue is fitting properly around your teeth.
One of the main causes of gum disease in any form is the presence of a deep pocket between the gum and the tooth.
If you still present signs of having such a pocket, or if it looks like it’ll be difficult to keep the area clean, you could be a candidate for periodontal pocket reduction surgery.
In this case, we would perform the procedure by folding back the gum tissue so as to remove infectious bacteria and smooth away areas of damaged bone.
This means that the gum tissue should be able to better reattach itself to healthy bone.
Another issue that can cause ongoing problems and make you more susceptible to gum disease and periodontitis is gum recession.
Gum recession causes the roots of your teeth to become exposed, which can be most uncomfortable and ultimately means that they are at a higher risk of being affected by the bacterial plaque, which is the cause of all these problems.
Exposed roots can, however, be covered with gum grafts.
This involves gum tissue is taken from elsewhere within your mouth – often your palate – and used to cover the roots of one or more teeth.
Covering these exposed roots will help reduce sensitivity and protect your roots from decay. It also prevents further gum recession and potential bone loss.
Periodontal disease can destroy the bone that holds your teeth in place.
As horrific as this sounds, it is possible to reverse these effects through the surgical procedure of bone grafting.
Bone grafting introduces bone back into a previously affected area.
Your specialist will, first, eliminate bacteria from the site and then place either natural or synthetic bone into the area where the bone has been lost, along with tissue-stimulating proteins to help your body regrow any bone and tissue that has been lost through periodontal disease.
The Other Kind of Graft
One of the biggest parts of any periodontal treatment plan is aftercare.
You need to be prepared to put in the time to maintain your oral hygiene after your treatment is finished.
A meticulous and thorough homecare regime is the key to keeping periodontal disease from rearing its ugly head again and because personal oral care is a huge part of any periodontal treatment plan, we will spend lots of time making sure you understand and advising you as to the proper brushing and flossing techniques at home.
We’ll also recommend keeping a close eye on your periodontal health with more frequent checkups and cleaning appointments.
Whether you’re reading this as someone that is in need of periodontal treatment, or if you’re here seeking advice, the bottom line is this: when dealing with periodontal disease…
“There is no medicine you can take that will replace what you can do for your own health.” – Aarti Patel, The Art of Health: Simple and Powerful Keys for Creating Health in your Life