Before deciding on proper treatment for periodontal disease, your dentist and dental hygienist must evaluate and assess the severity and progression of the disease. Periodontal disease worsens as the space between the tooth and gums (called the sulcus) fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria, irritating the surrounding tissues. As time passes with these irritants lodged the sulcus, damage is caused to the gums and bones that support the teeth.
Regular dental visits will ensure that the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis. In this case, assuming no damage has yet occurred, your dentist will simply recommend one or two regular cleanings. Your dentist will also recommend coming in for regular cleanings as well as advise you on how to improve your dental hygiene habits at home.
On the other hand, if periodontal disease has reach a more advanced stage, a periodontal procedure called scaling and root planing—also called a “deep cleaning”—will be advised. After numbing one quadrant of the mouth at a time, plaque, tartar, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and root surfaces will be smoothed (planing). The purpose of this procedure is to help pockets to reduce in size and gum tissue to heal. To help prevent infection and promote healing, your dentist may recommend medicated mouth rinses, an electric tooth brush, and certain medications.
Periodontal surgery is the last resort in cases where pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing. This will make teeth easier to clean. Lastly, your dentist may recommend visiting a specialist of the gums and supporting bone, also called a periodontist.
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