Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment

Gum disease.Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection caused by bacterial plaque, a thin, sticky layer of microorganisms (called a biofilm) that collects at the gum line in the absence of effective daily oral hygiene. Left for long periods of time, plaque will cause inflammation that can gradually separate the gums from the teeth — forming little spaces that are referred to as “periodontal pockets.” The pockets offer a sheltered environment for the disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria to reproduce. If the infection remains untreated, it can spread from the gum tissues into the bone that supports the teeth. Should this happen, your teeth may loosen and eventually be lost.

When treating gum disease, it is often best to begin with a non-surgical approach consisting of one or more of the following:

  • Scaling and Root Planing. An important goal in the treatment of gum disease is to rid the teeth and gums of pathogenic bacteria and the toxins they produce, which may become incorporated into the root surface of the teeth. This is done with a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing (or root debridement). Scaling involves removing plaque and hard deposits (calculus or tartar) from the surface of the teeth, both above and below the gum line. Root planing is the smoothing of the tooth-root surfaces, making them more difficult for bacteria to adhere to.
  • Antibiotics/Antimicrobials. As gum disease progresses, periodontal pockets and bone loss can result in the formation of tiny, hard to reach areas that are difficult to clean with handheld instruments. Sometimes it's best to try to disinfect these relatively inaccessible places with a prescription antimicrobial rinse (usually containing chlorhexidine), or even a topical antibiotic (such as tetracycline or doxycyline) applied directly to the affected areas. These are used only on a short-term basis, because it isn't desirable to suppress beneficial types of oral bacteria.
  • Bite Adjustment. If some of your teeth are loose, they may need to be protected from the stresses of biting and chewing — particularly if you have teeth-grinding or clenching habits. For example, it is possible to carefully reshape minute amounts of tooth surface enamel to change the way upper and lower teeth contact each other, thus lessening the force and reducing their mobility. It's also possible to join your teeth together with a small metal or plastic brace so that they can support each other, and/or to provide you with a bite guard to wear when you are most likely to grind or clench you teeth.
  • Oral Hygiene. Since dental plaque is the main cause of periodontal disease, it's essential to remove it on a daily basis. That means you will play a large role in keeping your mouth disease-free. You will be instructed in the most effective brushing and flossing techniques, and given recommendations for products that you should use at home. Then you'll be encouraged to keep up the routine daily. Becoming an active participant in your own care is the best way to ensure your periodontal treatment succeeds. And while you're focusing on your oral health, remember that giving up smoking helps not just your mouth, but your whole body.

Often, nonsurgical treatment is enough to control a periodontal infection, restore oral tissues to good health, and tighten loose teeth. At that point, keeping up your oral hygiene routine at home and having regular checkups and cleanings at the dental office will give you the best chance to remain disease-free.

Related Articles

Periodontal (Gum) Disease - Dear Doctor Magazine

Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease Have your gums ever bled when you brushed or flossed? This most commonly overlooked simple sign may be the start of a silent progressive disease leading to tooth loss. Learn what you can do to prevent this problem and keep your teeth for life... Read Article

Periodontal Disease - Dear Doctor Magazine

Treating Difficult Areas Of Periodontal Disease Local antimicrobial or antibiotic therapy is sometimes used to treat difficult areas of periodontal (gum) disease. However, it is important to realize that while periodontal disease is a bacterially induced and sustained disease, mechanical cleaning to reduce bacteria is the best and most often used treatment... Read Article

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  • "As weird as it sounds, I truly enjoy my time here and love that I always leave having learned something new! Dr. Moody and his wife, Jill, are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They truly care about their patient’s well being. You can’t help but feel at home and most importantly, at ease when you’re in his chair. I am beyond thankful to have found Anchor Dental and look forward to the years ahead."
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  • "Love love love Anchor Dental!! Dr Moody and his team are the best I’m so happy to have found them!! They helped me out so much with my teeth and educated me on preventative techniques to help with my Recessive gum line and loss of bone. They are always super nice and treat you like family. It took me along time to find a good dentist that I can trust since moving to Anchorage and now that I found Anchor Dental I’m very happy.

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  • "This dental office is fantastic! The hygenist was amazing and took her time cleaning my teeth really well. I have some sensitivity so they provided me with the comfort of some numbing gel. I was very comfortable and happy with my appointment. Dr. Moody is an excellent dentist. He bonded with my fiance while he was waiting for me and seems they had a good chat! All staff was amazing!"
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  • "Dr. Moody has been my dentist for the past few years. He has helped me eat better through molding and ordering partials. Also, he has a caring staff that really listens to my concerns. I will always recommend friends, family and colleagues to him for the best dental care. Just got a temporary crown, and almost no pain!"
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  • "Dr. Moody is the best and most genuine dentist professional I have ever been too. I will say that even after I move out of state, I will fly back just for my dental care."
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  • "I wasn't able to get in for the cleaning I was scheduled for but was able to still have an exam & X-rays. Dr. Moody talked with me extensively about my teeth, dental health, & future care. He answered all the questions I had & I never felt rushed. I would highly recommend Dr. Moody & his staff at Anchor Dental."
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