PERIODONTAL DISEASE TREATMENT
Periodontal disease (also called gum disease) is more common than one might think. Over seventy five percent of Americans suffer from periodontal disease and most of the people don’t even know they have it. If you have been diagnosed with the disease, your Somerset Dental Associates Team has extensive experience with periodontal disease and has successfully treated many patients.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on your teeth. Brushing and flossing will help rid plaque from teeth. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing will not clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar from teeth.
Periodontal treatments depend on the type of the gum disease and how severe it may be. If the disease is caught early, (when it is gingivitis), and no damage has been done to the supporting structures under the teeth, you may simply need a professional cleaning. The dental team can give you tips for improving your daily hygiene and proper teeth cleaning.
Even with these measures in place, some patients develop more severe periodontal disease. The first step in treating the disease usually involves a special deep cleaning called “scaling and root planning.” In this treatment, the dentist removes plaque and tarter down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. The treatment may be done over several visits, depending upon your needs. The root surfaces of the teeth are then smothered (or “planed”) to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.
Your dentist may recommend medications to help control infection and pain or to aid healing. These recommendations can include a pill, mouth rinse or a medication that the dentist places directly into the periodontal pocket after scaling and root planning.
If you smoke tobacco, it is important to quit. Ask your dentist or physician for information about ways to stop.
Another dental visit will be scheduled within a few weeks or months after your last scaling and root planning treatment. At this visit, your dentist or hygienist will again evaluate the teeth for the progress of the treatment.
If the pockets do not heal enough after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed to rebuild or reshape the bone. Splints, bite guards or other applications may be used to hold loose teeth in place and to help tissue heal. If too much gum or bone tissue has been lost, the dentist may do a gum or bone graft.
The dentist may place a membrane layer at the surgical area to help the gums stay in place while the tooth root reattaches to the supporting ligament. This is called “guided tissue regeneration.”
After surgery, the dentist may apply a protective dressing over teeth and gums and recommend or prescribe a special mouth rinse. Your dentist also may prescribe an antibiotic and/or pain reliever.
Care After Treatment
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your dentist may recommend more frequent checkups and cleanings. Regular dental visits and deep cleanings are important to keep periodontal disease under control.