Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Left untreated periodontal disease may lead to tooth loss. Once periodontal disease is present, it cannot be cured, but it can be treated and further damage can be prevented. The following information describes the various treatments for periodontal disease. They are listed from least to most aggressive:
Do nothing. If you elect to do nothing for your periodontal disease, it will continue to progress slowly until you lose the involved teeth one-by-one. This tooth loss can take from a few months to years. Routine dental hygiene appointments can increase the possibility of keeping your teeth longer. It will not stop the progression of the disease.
Increased frequency of oral hygiene appointments. In a healthy mouth, cleanings and scaling are performed once every 6 months. However if you have been diagnosed with early periodontal disease the progression can be significantly slowed or even stopped by increasing the frequency of scaling and exams to once every 2-4 months.
Deep scaling, soft tissue curettage and increased frequency of oral hygiene appointments. Removal of tartar from the deepest areas of the periodontal pockets and removal of the diseased soft tissue by scaling, usually decreases pocket depth and slows or stops periodontal disease. After this treatment routine oral hygiene scaling, polishing, and examination is increased to once every 2-4 months. Without this increased frequency of cleanings the disease can again start progressing.
Periodontal Surgery. In advanced cases it may be necessary to gently reflect the gums from the underlying bone tissue, clean out the infection, sometimes add bone fill in deficient areas, and replace the gums for healing. If this kind of treatment is needed we will refer you to a specialist (periodontist).
The patient has the most important roll to play in controlling periodontal disease. Without good home care treatment will fail. We give our patients detailed, personalized instructions on how to improve their oral hygiene home care.