Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a condition affecting the gums and bone surrounding your teeth. It is caused by a bacterial infection that is frequently painless until it reaches advanced stages. We are very meticulous in our examinations in an effort to diagnose problems at an early, more easily treated stage. There can be multiple factors that play a role in periodontal disease and we will discuss these on an individual basis. Treatment can range from thorough professional cleanings, called “scale and root plane,” to more extensive surgical procedures, and even tooth removal. In some cases we will recommend care from a periodontist, a dental specialist in periodontal disease.
Scale and root plane is a procedure used in treating some phases of periodontal disease. Some patients think of it as a “super cleaning” but it is really much more. The procedure frequently requires dental anesthesia and consists of very methodical, meticulous debridement of the tooth structure below the gum line into the infected tissue. Once the disease is brought under control, it is critical that periodontal maintenance procedures be performed on a regular basis. This consists of cleaning the previously treated pockets or spaces between your teeth. Daily home care is a must, but it is not enough to bring your disease under control. If you do not continue with your maintenance visits, your periodontal disease will progress and make maintaining your teeth more difficult.