Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the teeth and gums fills with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, which causes irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and, eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!
If the disease is discovered in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given directions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and instructed to have regular dental cleanings.
If the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. This procedure is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while each area is numb. During this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gumline (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and the use of an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, which will make teeth easier to clean. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).