Periodontal disease progresses as the space (formally known as sulcus) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar. This buildup 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 caught in the early stages of gingivitis — and no damage has been done — one to two regular cleanings may be all one needs to restore full dental health. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) is recommended. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Additionally, medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (a specialist of the gums and supporting bone).
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.