Dealing with and Preventing Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the body’s response to bacteria and bacterial by products present in plaque and tartar. It affects the bone and other supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontal disease can lead to shifting teeth, lose teeth and is the most common cause if tooth loss.

Periodontal disease usually starts with Gingivitis which is inflamed, tender and bleeding gums. It is very important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings to prevent the progression of gingivitis to periodontitis. Gingivitis is also one of the common chronic oral diseases seen in school age children.

Chronic Adult periodontitis is classified into mild, moderate and severe. The treatment for mild and moderate periodontitis is usually a non-surgical procedure called Scaling and root planing which we do at our office.

Patients with moderate periodontitis that does not respond as expected to non-surgical therapy and those with severe periodontitis are referred to a gum specialist (Periodontist).

Non surgical gum therapy(Scaling and Root Planing): This is a procedure done in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate gum disease. The gums are numbed and the plaque, tartar and bacterial film is removed from below the gum line and the root surfaces are smoothed to facilitate healthier gum attachment with the root.

If the patient’s response to the treatment is not optimal then the dentist and hygienist may recommend that you see a Periodontist.

Arestin: This is an antibiotic (minocycline) that is placed directly into the gum pocket in cases where the scaling and root planing has already been done and there are persistent isolated inflamed pockets. Since the antibiotic is used in very specific areas the body is exposed to a very small dose.

Periodontal Maintenance: This procedure is an important part of any periodontal treatment. After you have been treated by scaling and root planing or other gum treatment which may include surgery, your dentist or gum specialist will recommend that you have periodontal maintenance visits every 3- 4 months. During these visits the Dentist and the hygienist will check your gum pockets, examine your teeth and existing fillings for decay, oral cancer screening and go over your oral hygiene routine.