If you've been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on the details of your situation and the severity of the problem.
The first line of defense against gum disease is a deep 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). This provides 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. However, as with any dental procedure, after-care is vital. In order to keep your teeth in good shape and resist future occurrences of gum disease, you must brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco use, and have regular dental checkups. You will require more frequent cleanings called Maintenance. Even after a successful scaling and root planing, if you don't attend to your teeth properly, it's quite likely that 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. Your bite or occlusion will also be evaluated. 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:
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, leaving 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 needs to be removed.
During osseous surgery (also known as “flap surgery”), we fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria hiding underneath, as well as the hardened plaque and tartar (calculus) that have collected. We reshape the bone and also remove any soft tissue that is too damaged to survive. We then sew the healthy tissue back into place. Now that the tooth and root are free of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, and the pockets have been reduced, the gums can reattach to the teeth.
When the bone and tissue supporting the teeth have been lost due to severe gum disease, we can restore these areas with a regeneration procedure. During this process, we begin by folding back the gum tissue and removing the bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Depending on your situation, we may then perform a bone graft to stimulate new bone growth, or we may apply a special kind of protein that stimulates tissue growth to repair the areas that have been destroyed by the disease.
You may experience some swelling after the surgery, so applying an ice pack to the outside of your face over the treated area can help with any discomfort. In some cases, antibiotics are given before, during, and after the treatment in order to prevent any infections. After a week or two, you’ll come back to our office so that your periodontist can check the surgical area and ensure your mouth is healing properly.
Will my insurance cover my periodontal treatment?
Many insurance plans will provide assistance for periodontal treatment. Our practice understands how important your dental health is, and we want you to get the most out of any dental treatment you receive. We will help you work with your insurance provider to make sure that your treatment is easy on your budget, and your peace of mind.