Treatment for periodontal disease can range from non-surgical to surgical to dental implants. While non-surgical treatment options aim to control bacterial growth, surgery aims to restore supportive tissues. Dental implants are an option for people who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease and prefer not to wear dentures.
Overall, periodontal treatments aim to:
In diagnosing periodontal disease, Dr. Weishoff uses a small periodontal probe to measure the pocket of space between the tooth and the gums. If the pockets are deeper than three millimeters and patients experience bleeding, immediate treatment is recommended. If left untreated, these pockets can become deeper as the disease progresses in severity from gingivitis (first stage of gum disease), to periodontitis (plaque turns to tartar and the gums are pus-filled, inflamed, and recede further), to advanced periodontitis (severe bone loss).
For active gum disease, Dr. Weishoff may recommend scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning procedure performed under a local anesthetic.
During the procedure, plaque and tartar (hardened plaque or calculus) are scraped away (scaling) from both above and below the gum line, and rough spots on the tooth are made smooth (planing). This process helps remove bacteria from the surface of the teeth and helps your gums reattach to the clean surface.
Surgical options for gum disease are for patients who need more than scaling and root planing to treat their stage of the disease. Some of these surgical options can be combined.
Flap surgery (pocket reduction) involves lifting back the gums to remove tartar build-up. In more severe cases, bone is smoothed to limit the areas where bacteria can grow.
Bone grafts aid in the regrowth of bone to restore the stability of teeth. Fragments of your bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone can be used to replace any bone destroyed by gum disease.
Soft tissue grafts are done to reinforce thin gums or fill in places where gums have receded. The tissue is grafted from the roof of the mouth and stitched in place to the affected area.
Guided tissue regeneration is performed to stimulate bone and gum tissue growth. A small piece of mesh-like fabric is inserted between the bone and gum tissue to keep the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone should be. This procedure is often done in combination with flap surgery, and both are done to allow the bone and connective tissue to regrow to better support the teeth.
Bone surgery is performed to smooth shallow craters in the bone. The bone around the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters, thus making it harder for bacteria to collect and grow. This procedure is often done following flap surgery.
Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease and who prefer not to wear dentures. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in your jawbone with your natural bone. Once set, the implant becomes a sturdy base to support one or more artificial teeth (crowns). Then an abutment or connector is placed on the dental implant to hold and support a crown. Crowns are custom-made to match your natural teeth. They encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.