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If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on
the particulars of your situation and severity of the problem. We always start with the least invasive
options, which are non-surgical. However, in more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
Periodontitis involves the supporting structures of the teeth including the gum tissue and the bone.
It results in bone loss around the teeth because of your body’s reaction to bacteria [plaque] that
gets under the gum tissue and hardens on the root surface. Since your body cannot remove the
bacteria, it starts removing [resorbing] bone from the area of infection. The result is less bone to
support your teeth. There are several components that accelerate this process including genetics,
smoking, tooth position, and systemic disease. Periodontitis is a chronic disease similar to diabetes
and heart disease in that we cannot cure it. However, like these other diseases, we can stabilize
and maintain a level of health. This is done through the help of our office, your general dentist, and
most importantly you!
The first line of defense against the presence of gum disease is a unique type of cleaning called
“scaling and rootplaning.” In this procedure, an ultrasonic cleaning device is used to remove plaque
and tartar from your teeth where regular cleaning devices can't reach: under the gum line on the
tooth and the root. Then, the rough surface of the tooth and the root are smoothed out (planed).
This provides a healthy, clean surface that makes it easier for the gum tissue to reattach to the
tooth. If you address your gum disease before it becomes severe, scaling and root planing may be
the only treatment you need.
If the tissue or bone surrounding your teeth is too damaged to be repaired with non-surgical
treatment, several surgical procedures are available to prevent severe damage and restore a
healthy smile. We will recommend the procedure that is best suited to the condition of your teeth
and gums. Following is a list of common types of periodontal surgery.
Pocket Depth Reduction
Periodontal disease damages the tissues and bone, leaving open spaces around the teeth that we
call pockets. The larger the pockets are, the easier for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to
damage over time. Eventually the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either
falls out or needs to be removed. During pocket reduction procedures we remove the bacteria hiding
underneath, as well as the hardened plaque and tartar that have collected. We may also remove
any tissue that is too damaged to survive. We then put the healthy tissue back into place. Now that
the tooth and root are free of bacteria, plaque and tartar, and the pockets have been reduced, the
gums can reattach to the teeth.
Bone Grafting/Tissue Regeneration
This surgical procedure replaces bone that has been lost around the teeth as a result of advancing
gum disease. Various types of bone grafting materials are used from synthetically derived bone to
collagen-type materials to the patient's own bone. Often a "membrane" of some type is used to help
contain the graft within the prepared bone site and help the graft to heal properly.