Periodontal Services

Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis and no damage has been done, one to two additional regular cleanings may be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning which is a nonsurgical procedure called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually performed on half of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses,placement of an antibiotic into the infected pockets and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.

If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Your dentist would then recommend you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).

Periodontal Maintenance

Prophy and periodontal maintenance are very different procedures for very different patient types. A prophyis a non-therapeutic procedure for the maintenance of the healthy mouth. Prophy is only provided for patients without periodontitis. It is primarily a supragingival (above the gumline) procedure and is provided mainly at six-month intervals.

Periodontal maintenance (PM), also known as Support Periodontal Therapy (SPT), is distinctly different than prophy and is most commonly utilized for patients who have had active periodontal treatment. It is ongoing treatment for periodontitis, which is a chronic and non-curable, but controllable bacterial infection. The objective of PM is to keep the disease under control through removal of plaque and calculus from supragingival (above the gumline) and subgingival (below the gumline) areas. Any type of periodontal treatment is ineffective in the long term without an effective PM regimen. Periodontal maintenance is provided every three months to eliminate or adequately disrupt biofilm where periodontal pathogens aggregate before the bacteria is able to flourish becoming sizable and aggressive enough to cause more damage to the patient’s periodontal tissues (gums and bone).

Research has shown that patients who undergo active periodontal treatment of any kind, surgical or non-surgical, and do not have periodontal maintenance at the appropriate interval lose two to three times more teeth and have active periodontal therapy twice as often as those having maintenance.