How is Periodontal Disease Treated

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that gets under the gums and into the bone around your teeth, causing inflammation. Periodontal inflammation leads to tooth loss and may contribute to other medical conditions. The resulting bone loss leaves loose excess tissue that bacteria can get underneath. This loose, "good for nothing" tissue is called a pocket.

The periodontal infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal. There are generally two accepted treatments for this condition depending upon the severity of your infection.

Upper Level Infection Removal

The upper level of infection in the "pockets" around your teeth can be removed using specialized instruments. This procedure is called, "Scaling and Root Planing", "Phase One Treatment" or " Initial Therapy". It is done under local anesthesia and is quite different from the routine dental cleaning that is traditionally performed in the dentist's office.

Lower Level Infection Removal

If your infection has spread into the bone that supports your teeth, and is below the level that can be reached in "Upper Level Infection Removal", then a surgical procedure must be performed to remove the remaining infection. This procedure retracts the gums and removes the lower level infection and "pockets".

Maintenance Therapy

Periodontal disease is never cured but only controlled. Maintenance, or supportive periodontal therapy, is an ongoing program designed to keep periodontal disease under control in patients who have undergone periodontal treatment. This ongoing phase of treatment allows your periodontist to assess your periodontal health and ensure your infection stays under control.

During maintenance therapy, you will receive an oral examination and accumulations of new infection will be removed. If necessary, your teeth are polished and your bite is checked. Your dentist or periodontist will recommend a schedule that is best tailored to protect your periodontal health. Depending upon the severity of your original periodontal problem, you may need to receive maintenance therapy every 3 months or more often.



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