Periodontal Treatments and Procedures
Periodontists are dentistry’s experts in treating periodontal disease. They receive up to three additional years of specialized training in periodontal disease treatment in both non-surgical treatments and periodontal plastic surgery procedures. Periodontists are also experts in replacing missing teeth with dental implants.
Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment
American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment.
Non-surgical periodontal treatment does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal health.
- Scaling and Root Planing – Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Some patients do not require any further active treatment; however, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health.
- Tray Delivery Systems – A tray delivery system consists of a custom-fit tray made from impressions of the patient’s mouth. Patients use the tray at home to deliver medications that have been prescribed by their dentist. Tray delivery systems were cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since they are similar to fluoride trays traditionally used to prevent tooth decay. However, the FDA clearance process did not determine that any specific medication delivered via tray delivery systems has been proven to be a safe or effective way to treat gum disease.
The AAP has reviewed several studies about the treatment of periodontal disease using tray drug delivery systems. The results of these studies, where tray drug delivery systems were used as adjunct to non-surgical periodontal therapy, provide no strong evidence that show adjunctive use of tray delivery systems is more effective than traditional non-surgical periodontal therapy alone.
When determining the best course of treatment for your specific case, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of all available treatment options with your dental professional.
Gum Graft Surgery
Exposed tooth roots are the result of gum recession. Gum graft surgery will repair the defect and help to prevent additional recession and bone loss.
Gum grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gingival recession. During gum graft surgery, the periodontist takes gum tissue from the palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root. This can be done for one tooth or several teeth to even the gum line and reduce sensitivity.
The benefits of Gum Graft Surgery can reduce further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay. This may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve esthetics of your smile. Whether a gum graft to is improve function or esthetics, patients often receive the benefits of both: a beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health – your keys to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and confidence.
Laser Treatment for Gum Disease
Lasers can be used to treat periodontal disease.
Can the use of Lasers in Periodontal Therapy harm patients?Yes and no. Each laser has different wavelengths and power levels that can be used safely during different periodontal procedures. However, damage to periodontal tissues can result if a laser with an inappropriate wavelength and/or power level is used during a periodontal procedure.
Does the research with lasers support their use in Periodontics at this time?Currently, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that any specific laser wavelength is superior to the traditional treatment methods of the common periodontal diseases, such as periodontitis.
Can I trust the claims in an ad for Periodontal Therapy performed with a laser?It is important to beware of advertising that sounds too good to be true because it very well may be. A dental professional can help you separate fact from hype.
Will my insurance carrier cover the use of a laser in Periodontal Therapy?Insurance carriers reimburse for the procedure being performed rather than the device used to perform it. Therefore, whether your periodontist uses traditional tools instruments for treatment or lasers, your reimbursement will be the same for that specific procedure. Before consenting to surgery or treatment by laser, always consult with your insurance carrier to determine what procedures are covered in your plan, as well as the extent of coverage.
Procedures that regenerate lost bone and tissue supporting your teeth can reverse some of the damage caused by periodontal disease.
Your periodontist may recommend a regenerative procedure when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed due to periodontal disease. These procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue.
During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria. Membranes (filters), bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.
Eliminating existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue helps to reduce pocket depth an repair damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease. With a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care, you’ll increase the chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chances of other health problems associated with periodontal disease.