Treatments for Periodontal Disease
By Joe McIntyre, DDS on June 17, 2021
Your periodontal health can affect your overall health, which is why it’s important to take good care of your gums. Many people undergo periodontal care to treat gum disease, the earliest stage being gingivitis. If gum disease is caught early, treatment is noninvasive and straightforward. Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which destroys gum tissue and requires more invasive treatment.
The dentists of Smiles for Life serve patients throughout the Harrisonburg, Bridgewater, and Staunton, VA areas. Below, we discuss noninvasive, minimally invasive, and advanced gum disease treatments.
Professional Dental Cleaning
If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you may experience plaque buildup. Bacteria thrives on this tacky film on the teeth, and can irritate the gum tissue and cause gingivitis. In just 48 hours, plaque hardens into tartar or calculus, which cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. That’s why a professional cleaning is so important.
During comprehensive dental visits, we will:
- Check for signs of gum disease by charting gum pocket depth and evaluating gum tissue
- Remove plaque and tartar around the gumline and between the teeth
- Gently polish the teeth with a special, gritty toothpaste
- Provide advice and demonstrations on how to improve your daily oral hygiene routine
A professional dental cleaning can help reduce your risk of developing gum disease, even for high-risk patients such as smokers, people experiencing hormonal changes, people of advanced age, and those who use certain medications.
Scaling and Root Planing
When plaque buildup hardens into tartar, inflamed gums often pull away from the teeth. Bacteria begin to erode the connective tissues between teeth and gums, creating periodontal pockets at the base of teeth. Plaque and tartar collect in these pockets and cannot be removed by simply brushing and flossing. A dental hygienist must perform a deep cleaning to eliminate bcteria, plaque, and tartar so that gums can heal.
A deep oral cleaning treatment consists of two parts:
- Scaling – With an ultrasonic cleaning instrument, the hygienist eliminates plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. Scaling removes debris down to the bottom of the gum pocket.
- Root planing – The hygienist gently smooths out any rough ridges on the tooth roots. Root planing removes areas on tooth roots where plaque and bacteria can accumulate.
After scaling and root planing, your dentist may prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash for you to use at home. When paired with regular brushing and daily flossing, a mouthwash can:
- Reduce bacteria and plaque
- Slow tartar accumulation
- Prevent or reduce early signs of gum disease
Full Mouth Reconstruction
If plaque and tartar buildup are left untreated, they can lead to periodontitis, which causes gum recession and bone atrophy. Without support from healthy gums and bone structure, teeth can loosen and eventually fall out.
If the health of your mouth has been compromised by advanced periodontal disease, a full mouth reconstruction may be needed. This combination of restorative dentistry procedures can treat gum disease while also addressing tooth loss and other serious dental health issues.
Book an Appointment
If you have questions or concerns regarding the state of your gums, send us a message online. You can also reach our Harrisonburg office by calling (540) 828-2312.