Non-Surgical Procedures

Local Antibiotic Treatment | Scaling & Root Planing | Maintenance Therapy

Local Antibiotic Treatment

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the gum tissues. The gums as a result begin to separate from the tooth and form something called a periodontal pocket. During scaling and root planing(deep cleaning) an antibiotic could be administered directly into the infected pocket if the doctor feels that it is necessary. The medicine slowly releases its therapeutic effects over 14 days and kills the bacteria that are causing the periodontal pocket, allowing your body to naturally heal itself. The doctor will then examine you at subsequent visits to monitor the positive changes in the pocket depth.

Scaling & Root Planing

This process can be done above or below the gum line and involves the scraping and removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) from the tooth. Scaling done at regular teeth cleanings usually involves the crown of the tooth. However, in more extreme circumstances, it is necessary to go further below the gum line to thoroughly remove disease-causing bacteria and its by-products on the root surface. In very advanced cases, flap surgery or gingivectomy may be necessary to allow the doctor free access to the infected tooth root.

After the thorough cleaning of the tooth surface has been completed above and below the gum line, the root of the tooth undergoes a process called planing. This is a process of smoothing the root of the tooth so that any remaining tartar is removed. This also serves two other purposes: it clears away any rough areas that bacteria below the gum line thrive in, and it makes it much easier for the gingival (gum) tissue to re-attach itself to the tooth, effectively reducing the size of the pockets that the plaque and bacteria hide in. This re-growth of tissue is key in stopping a recurrence of gum disease and happens very quickly once the calculus has been removed.

With either of these procedures, your periodontist may prescribe you either local or systemic antibiotics and a specially indicated mouth rinse.

Maintenance Therapy

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that requires constant monitoring and follow-up. Active therapy for periodontal disease usually begins with scaling and root planing and may require even more invasive treatment such as periodontal surgery, extractions, and implants. Once therapy has been completed it is necessary and urged that a patient return at regular three month intervals for maintenance of their periodontal condition. Usually these visits are alternated with their general dentist to assure optimal periodontal care.