Non-Surgical Periodontal Procedures
Some less severe forms of periodontal disease may be treated non-surgically with less invasive procedures.
Scaling and Root Planing
Without regular dental cleanings, harmful bacteria and hard deposits called calculus build up on your teeth above and below your gums, releasing harmful toxins that can lead to gingivitis, or inflamed and bleeding gums. This buildup occurs in areas that cannot be reached by brushing, flossing, or even regular dental cleaning. Scaling and root planing is a procedure performed with an ultrasonic cleaner, which uses high-frequency vibration to separate the calculus from the tooth. The cleaning of root surfaces is performed to remove plaque and tartar from deep, otherwise unreachable periodontal pockets. This procedure also smoothes the tooth’s root to remove bacterial toxins that may be present on its surface.
This procedure is for advanced periodontal cases and may require multiple appointments
to complete. This procedure is indicated for patients with periodontal disease and is therapeutic, not preventative, in nature. In some cases, this may bring your gums back to health. Your doctor can determine the best next steps in your treatment.
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Periodontal maintenance therapy is an ongoing specialized program of care for patients who have been previously diagnosed and treated for periodontal disease. The goal of this therapy is to keep the gums and bone healthy and free of inflammation-causing bacteria. Individuals with a history of periodontal disease require these kind of cleanings because periodontal ‘pockets’ have formed between the teeth and gum line. This is typically an ongoing treatment process because the harmful bacteria that cause gum disease continue to build deep in the pockets between your gums and teeth even after initial treatment, often taking only 3 to 4 months to return to a damaging level. For this reason, periodontal maintenance is continued at varying intervals determined by the clinical evaluation of your doctor for the life of the teeth or any implant replacements.
During these visits, your doctor will examine and probe the dental pockets to measure their depth. Afterward, a deep cleaning is performed which includes the tooth surface below the gumline. Any uneven surfaces on the tooth are smoothed out to prevent future plaque and bacterial buildup. Given that there is no cure for periodontal disease, periodontal maintenance therapy is crucial to prevent it from worsening and causing additional complications for your oral and systemic health. Your doctor will work with you to create a maintenance schedule that best suits your unique needs.