Depending on the severity of your symptoms, a deep cleaning by a periodontist (who specializes in gums) can often be enough to stop periodontal disease from spreading. Also known as scaling or root planing, your periodontist will get the area above and below your gumline cleared of plaque and calculus. This non-surgical procedure can be done with a dental scaler, or with a laser. Laser treatments typically result in less bleeding and swelling compared to a dental scaler.
Your periodontist will schedule a follow up three to four weeks later to see how things are progressing. At this point, you may decide that it’s time to pursue surgical options that will reverse and repair more advanced cases of periodontal disease.
If your case of periodontal disease is more advanced, or if dental planing did not have the desired effect, it may be time to consider surgical options. It may be necessary to complete a bone or soft tissue graft if there has been significant loss. Bone surgery will rebuild and reshape the bone that may have been altered by the buildup of plaque and calculus, which will help reduce the chance of tooth loss. Soft tissue (gum) grafts will help repair gums that have receded, in order to keep plaque from redeveloping below the gumline. Your periodontist can help guide you through the options and help you choose which will be right for you.
Change Your Behavior
Regardless of which route your periodontist takes, it’s important that you change the habits that may have allowed this to happen in the first place. If you haven’t already, begin and stick to a regular oral health routine. Brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash, paying careful attention to your gumline and the areas between teeth. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing periodontal disease, so it’s just one more reason to quit! You may also want to do some research as to your family history, and whether or not any of your medications could be making you more susceptible to infections.
Whatever your needs, Dr. Kenzik’s Periodontal office has the specialized skills you can’t find with a general dentist. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you counter this disease.