Periodontal (Gum) Disease Treatments
Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease, which affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth. These tissues are known as the periodontium. Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease that results in the progressive destruction and loss of the supporting bone around ones teeth. If periodontitis is left untreated it will often lead to bad breath, the loosening of one’s teeth, and eventually the loss of one’s teeth.
What is a scaling and root planing procedure?
Root planing removes bacteria and their toxins, tartar, and diseased deposits from the surfaces of tooth roots. Scaling is required for the full length of the root surface, down to where the root, gum and bone meet. Root planing is typically one of the first steps in treating gum and bone disease (periodontal disease).
Scaling and root planing is a therapeutic (healing), meticulous, and time consuming treatment in which the Registered Dental Hygienist removes toxins and bacteria from the root surfaces of the teeth, thereby allowing the body’s immune system to begin the healing process. Calculus (tartar), and diseased dentin are scaled away. These procedures are used as a complete treatment in some stages of periodontal disease. Several appointments, treating sections of the mouth at a time, and using local anesthesia may be required. These procedures are considered critical in establishing periodontal health. Recent studies are even beginning to show a relationship between gum and bone health in certain heart conditions and other systemic diseases.
What is ARESTIN®?
ARESTIN® is an antibiotic powder placed in the depths of your periodontal pockets by your dental professional containing 100,000 microspheres that attach to the walls of infected pockets and release the drug minocycline for up to a month. Arestin is indicated as an adjunct to scaling and root planing (SRP) procedures for reduction of pocket depth in patients with adult periodontitis. ARESTIN® may be used as part of a periodontal maintenance program, which includes good oral hygiene and SRP.
What if scaling and root planing alone is unsuccessful?
If your periodontal disease appears to be non-responsive and we are not successful in managing disease activity, periodontal surgery may be needed to stop progressive bone loss and regenerate lost bone where possible. There are many surgical approaches used in treatment of advanced periodontitis, including open flap debridement, osseous surgery, as well as guided tissue regeneration and bone grafting. The goal of periodontal surgery is access for definitive calculus removal and surgical management of bony irregularities which have resulted from the disease process to reduce pockets as much as possible. Your doctor will discuss which options may be appropriate for you.
What happens after scaling and root planning or surgery?
After you have completed your scaling and root planing or surgical procedure, regular cleanings are no longer completely effective. The American Dental Association refers to post- scaling and root planing cleanings as periodontal maintenance. These periodontal maintenance visits are not considered regular cleanings due to the nature of disease control. The bacteria causing periodontal disease re-establishes itself in as little as 90 days and it is critical to disrupt this process in order to disable the destructive process. There is no cure for periodontal disease, it can only be managed or controlled. The successful long-term control of periodontal disease depends upon active and continuous maintenance therapy.