In your periodontal evaluation we measure the “pockets” around the affected teeth with a probe to determine how far along the bacterial infection has progressed. The good news is that we can stabilize perio disease with treatment.
Scaling and root planing is a type of treatment somewhat like a routine cleaning, but we reach further beneath the gum line to clear away any toxins that are causing inflammation. Under local anesthetic we remove plaque and calculus deposits, and then smooth the root surface of each tooth to encourage re-attachment of the gum tissue. This simple procedure will help to eliminate the source of the gum problems. Deeper pockets may require additional surgical care to thoroughly clean away the infected tissue and repair the damaged jawbone.
Periodontal disease is progressive meaning if it doesn’t stabilize or show signs of healing, it’s bound to get worse. Even when it doesn’t hurt, untreated gum disease will eventually take its toll and you will eventually loose the tooth.
The course of gum disease proceeds in spurts of activity over time. In type I cases gingivitis, we find the gums inflamed or swollen. A crevice or pocket between the tooth and gum has deepened to about 4mm, indicating early detachment of the supporting structures. The bone is still in good shape.
As pockets deepen to 4 to 6mm you are developing early periodontitis. Gum inflammation extends into the bone beneath, which begins to erode. In types III and IV periodontitis pocket depths are far worse than 6mm and the teeth then begin to move. Without surgical intervention, your teeth will be lost.
There is a bright side. Everyday we are finding new ways to approach therapy. Since we can treat every stage of the disease our practice has helped many patients save their teeth and bring oral tissues back to a health condition.
We will take time with you to explain how to maintain healthy oral care at home. Home care more than anything is the key to successful periodontal therapy.