What is Periodontal Treatment?
Periodontal treatment involves a number of procedures used to treat periodontal [gum] disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a combination of bacteria in the sticky plaque found on teeth surfaces and our body’s immune response to the bacteria and their toxins. Treatment can be divided into non-surgical and surgical therapy.
How is it done?
First, a thorough Diagnosis needs to be established. A health history is obtained followed by a clinical exam. The exam involves the measurement of periodontal pockets, plaque and tartar levels, bleeding, colour and tooth mobility. [fig. 1]
Non-surgical therapy is accomplished by removing the plaque and tartar from the tooth surface above and below the gumline. This is called scaling and root planing. The exposed teeth surfaces are polished with either a polishing paste or mild baking soda spray. These procedures are usually performed one to four times per year to maintain health, all depending on the condition of each individual’s mouth. When non-surgical therapy is unable to achieve good oral health, surgery may be required.
Surgical therapy may be recommended to restore the gum tissues and supporting bone that have been damaged by periodontal disease and when non-surgical therapy is not successful. These procedures may involve; gum pocket reduction, grafts, crown/tooth lengthening, cosmetic reshaping and gum/bone regeneration. Surgery allows a person to clean and maintain their gums and teeth more easily.
How long does it last?
The success of periodontal therapy depends on many factors. A person’s oral hygiene routine is important. The ability to remove bacteria and plaque from the teeth and gums greatly influences oral health. Smoking negatively affects periodontal tissue by reducing blood flow to the gums, introducing toxins to the oral cavity and by decreasing saliva flow. Overall health, nutrition, and certain medications can also affect oral health by lowering a person’s ability to fight infection or to heal. Genetics can influence one’s immune response to bacteria and toxins. These factors also affect periodontal health after gum surgery.
Periodontal therapy is customized for every person depending on the factors described above. A typical adult may be recommended dental hygiene visits every 3 or 4 or 6 months to maintain optimal health.
For more information on periodontal disease and how to treat it, click on one of the links below.