We can use modern techniques to help rebuild lost periodontal support. The emphasis in Dr. Thore’s practice is conservative periodontal therapy.
Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. This consists of placing a fine ultrasonic scaler between the tooth and gum tissue to remove any plaque and tartar on the root surface below the gum line, then smoothing the root surface with a curette. This procedure is called scaling/root planing. Four to six weeks later, periodontal pockets are reduced. In early periodontal disease, this is usually the only treatment recommended.
Even in severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical periodontal therapy most often precedes surgical therapy, unless this was done previously in your general dentist’s office. This procedure is done so that the overall tissue quality is improved prior to surgery and also limits the areas of required surgery.
Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. The first step is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gumline. The tooth roots may also be planed (root planing) to smooth the root surface allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment.
Antibiotics or irrigation with antimicrobials (chemical agents or mouthrinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, Dr. Thore may place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing. We currently use Arestin (minocycline HCL 1mg) microspheres.
When used together with scaling and root planing, Arestin™ significantly reduces the depth of infected pockets and helps prevent disease progression. A combined therapy of Arestin™ plus scaling and root planing is more effective at fighting periodontal disease than scaling and root planing alone. Arestin™ was shown to be particularly even effective in the more difficult to treat patients such as smokers or people who have cardiovascular disease.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Dr. Thore to thoroughly remove plaque and tarter. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.