Periodontal disease is actually a group of several diseases. The simplest and most common form is called gingivitis; which is completely reversible and treatable. The second, most common form is adult periodontitis. It generally starts in your 30's and, if left untreated, results in tooth loss. Recent research is finding that it also may have a negative effect on your overall general health.

Some of the other forms of periodontal disease are less common. Some can start very early in life and be extremely aggressive. These types of periodontal disease require special attention and are often only treated in the office of a periodontist.

There are lots of ways to treat periodontal disease. There are usually 3 or 4 important players: The first is you, the second is a dentist, and the third is the hygienist. Whether you see a general dentist or a periodontist is decided by the complexity of your case and what therapy is best for you. It is very common to have coordinated treatment between your general dentist and a periodontist.

Most people associate the treatment of periodontal disease with surgery. While surgery is unavoidable in some circumstances, there are a multitude of non-surgical therapies that are effective in the treatment of periodontal disease. Scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) is a good example.  Local antimicrobials and rinses can often be prescribed. More frequent cleanings per year (3 to 4) is considered the gold standard for controlling some levels of periodontal disease.

Surgical treatments are specific for each patient. The benefits of surgery are well known. Reducing the pocket depth, growing the bone back, regaining lost gum tissue and surgery for cosmetic improvement are all excellent choices for saving teeth and improving your oral health.

Your hygienist or general dentist may be the first to recognize you have a periodontal infection. The best treatment is determined by your individual needs. You may be referred to a periodontist. If not, you should ask if it would be beneficial. Catching and treating periodontal disease early is often the best way to preserve your teeth for a lifetime.

Upper Level Infection Removal

The upper level of infection in the pockets around your teeth can be removed using specialized instruments. This procedure is called, “Scaling and Root Planing", “Phase One Treatment" or “Initial Therapy". It is done under local anesthesia and is quite different from the routine dental cleaning or “deep cleaning" that is traditionally done in the general dentist's office.

Lower Level Infection Removal

If your infection has spread into the bone that supports your teeth, and is below the level that can be reached in “Upper Level Infection Removal", then a surgical procedure must be performed to retract the gums and remove the lower level infection.

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