Traditional Periodontal Treatment
Traditional periodontal treatment ranges from simple to highly complex depending on the severity of the problem. In milder cases, non-surgical procedures known as scaling and root planing followed by a careful dental hygiene routine are enough to eliminate the problem. However, in severe cases surgery is the only way to solve the problem. Here we will take a look at the procedures involved in treatment and the importance of aftercare.
Non surgical treatment
When periodontal gum disease reaches the stage of requiring treatment, a non-surgical deep cleaning is the first step. Scaling and root planing will be carried out to remove the plaque and calculus from the teeth and gum line and to smooth the root surfaces. Depending on the severity of the case this procedure may require a local anaesthetic. The procedure aims to eliminate the infection-causing bacteria and irritants below the gum line from the mouth. In some cases it may be necessary to adjust your bite in order to avoid excessive force on teeth that have been affected by the disease that may now be weaker than unaffected teeth.
These procedures are often effective in cases where the air pockets that form around the teeth, in which bacteria linger, are shallower than 4-5 millimetres.
It is important to return to your dentist around 4-6 weeks after this initial treatment. If a check-up reveals that the treatment has been effective then there may be no need for further treatment. However, if the deep cleaning has not been successful in eliminating the infection then a surgical procedure may be unavoidable.
The aim of surgical treatment is exactly the same as that of non-surgical procedures; to remove the plaque and calculus that has gotten into the deep pockets around the tooth and smooth the root surfaces. When the pockets are more than 5-6 millimetres deep it is impossible to reach the problem without surgery. During surgical procedures there may be a need to rearrange gum tissue for easier cleaning post-treatment and correction of bone irregularities surrounding the diseased teeth that may have arisen due to the disease itself.
Surgical procedures involve cutting the gum to expose the root, termed open flap debridement, to see the damage caused by the disease. Firstly, the calculus can be removed to a high standard, allowing elimination of the problem-causing bacteria deep below the surface of the gums. Infected gum tissue is also removed during surgery. Following this any bone irregularities caused by the disease can be corrected to prevent a return of the problem. The gums will then be stitched.
After surgery it goes without saying that the mouth is left in a very weak state and the healing process can be quite long and challenging because of the added pressure on your body to heal the damage caused by the procedure on top of the damage caused by the infection. Abscesses are not uncommon following surgery and antibiotics may be required.
Nevertheless, the statistics show that patients who undergo surgical treatment and then keep up an effective dental hygiene routine post-treatment are 85% less likely to experience tooth loss caused by the damaging effects of periodontal gum disease.
Once your treatment is complete and your mouth is rid of the problem-causing bacteria it is important that you maintain a good dental regime in order to keep the bacteria at bay. If you fail to look after your post-treatment mouth there is every chance that your problems will return.
Obviously, regular and attentive brushing and flossing is essential in keeping the mouth free of problem bacteria but there are other things you must do and watch out for to keep a check on the problem.
Firstly, regular check-ups and professional cleanings are essential in preventing the return of the problem-causing bacteria. Visiting the dentist about once every three months is sufficient.
Furthermore, you should take the time to keep a close eye on the affected teeth so that should the disease return, you will be able to identify this quickly, and early diagnosis often calls for simpler treatment methods because the disease has not had time to develop.
Lastly, one of the main causes of periodontal gum disease is a poor cleaning regime that allows plaque to build up to a problematic level. It may be wise to discuss your oral hygiene habits with your dentist to try to identify any mistakes you may be making. Correcting these may well be enough to keep problem bacteria at bay permanently.