Periodontal Disease: Three Things To Know

Posted on: 23 February 2017

If your dentist has diagnosed you with periodontal disease, the bad news is that it is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the good news is that it can be treated successfully to restore your oral health. The treatment your dentist recommends depends on the severity of your condition. Mild to moderate gum disease is most often treated with non-surgical methods, whereas advanced periodontitis typically requires a surgical approach. Here's what you should know if you've just received a periodontal disease diagnosis. 


Gum disease is characterized by infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports your teeth. This occurs when bacteria that normally live in your mouth build up over time. These organisms stick to the surface of your teeth and if not removed will harden and form what is referred to as tartar. Because it's calcified, tartar cannot be removed by brushing. You have to visit your dentist to have it removed. If you have gum disease, it's crucial that you have it treated as untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss and may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. 

Scaling and Root Planing

The first non-surgical step to treating gum disease is called scaling and root planing, which is similar to deep cleaning. Your dentist will begin by examining your mouth first, before moving on to scaling and root planing. Scaling involves your dentist using special instruments to remove the built-up plaque that is adhered to the surface of your teeth. Your dentist may also use ultrasonic instruments to assist in plaque removal. The ultrasonic scaling device removes tartar, plaque and biofilm that has invaded the area beneath your gum line, as well as on the surface of your teeth. Root planing reduces gum tissue inflammation to help the soft tissue heal and restore your oral health. The root planing will also help smooth out rough areas of your gums and help eliminate any infection. 

Surgical Treatment

If you have advanced gum disease, your dentist may recommend a surgical approach such as flap surgery, which will remove tartar from the deep pockets that are infecting your gums and compromising the bone that supports your teeth. This type of procedure involves lifting back the gums to remove the tartar and then suturing the gums back in place. Following surgery, the gums will heal and tighten themselves back around your teeth. If your teeth look longer during the healing period, this is natural. They will appear more normal once the healing process is complete.

Contact a dentist such as Kenneth Schweizer DDS PA to learn more.