Periodontal (Gum) Treatment

Periodontal disease is a slowly progressing condition that eventually weakens the bone support of the teeth, causing the need for tooth extraction. Treatment of this condition can be surgical, in which the diseased gum and bone tissue are removed and/or reshaped to allow proper cleaning, or conservative, which is explained later on this page.

The following information describes the various treatments for periodontal disease. From least to most aggressive, these are the various treatments for periodontal disease:

  • No Treatment.

    If you elect to do nothing to treat your periodontal disease, it will continue to progress slowly until you lose the involved teeth. Tooth loss can require a few months to years. Routine dental hygiene appointments can in crease the possibility of increased tooth longevity.

  • Increased frequency of oral hygiene appointments.

    Although normally tooth cleanings or scalings are performed once every 6 months, patients with minimal periodontal disease can often control its progress by increasing the frequency of scalings and exams to once every two to four months.

  • Deep scaling, soft tissue curettage (removal of inflamed tissue) 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 curettage, usually decreases pocket depth and slows or stops periodontal disease. Routine oral hygiene scaling, polishing, and examination is increased to once every two to four months. Systemic and local antibiotics and rinses may be included in the therapy.

  • 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 artificial bone fill in deficient areas, and replace the gums to allow healing.

Conservative Periodontal Treatment

Surgical therapy is faster and somewhat more predictable, but conservative therapy is effective as well. If you elect conservative periodontal therapy, you must have an active role in carrying out the necessary procedures. The following are procedures necessary for conservative periodontal therapy:

  • Education providing enough information for you to understand the disease.
  • Oral hygiene instruction and upgrading of your oral cleaning habits.
  • Routine tongue cleaning.
  • Professional scaling, planning, and polishing of your teeth on a routine schedule.
  • Low level systemic antibiotic therapy to control the organisms causing periodontal disease.
  • Daily antimicrobiologic rinses.
  • Local antibiotics delivered to the most affected areas of your mouth.

In addition to the above treatments, patients should improve their oral hygiene procedures and diet. Smoking is also an extremely negative factor related to periodontal disease, and it should be reduced or, preferably, stopped.