Gum (periodontal) treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Dr. Cross and your dental hygienist will evaluate you for gum disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Gum 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 regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.
If the pockets are 4 to 5 millimeters or deeper, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant 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 (planing). The diseased tissue deep in the pocket is also removed. This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and reattach to the root and the pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
If the disease is advanced or if the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, Dr. Cross may recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone). Periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean.