How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that penetrates into the gums and into the bone around your teeth, causing inflammation. Periodontal inflammation leads to bone loss and possibly tooth loss and may contribute to other medical conditions.
The periodontal infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal. There are generally two levels of treatment for this condition depending upon the severity of your infection.
Scaling and Root Planing
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 or “deep cleaning” that is traditionally done in the general dentist’s office.
If your infection has spread into the bone that supports your teeth and is below the level that can be reached with Phase I treatment, an additional procedure is necessary to reach and remove this deeper infection.
Traditionally, a surgical procedure would be performed to retract the gums and remove the deeper infection. Although this is still a very effective treatment option, we now have an minimally invasive treatment option that uses a laser to eliminate the disease with no cutting or sutures. If you are a candidate for Laser Periodontal Therapy, treatment can actually be as effective than traditional therapy.
When periodontal disease reaches this lower level, it dissolves the bone around the teeth and can lead to bone loss. Once the infection has been removed, the damaged area may be repaired with a procedure called Bone Grafting.