Is non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease possible?
My dentist recently referred me to a periodontist because he detected some signs of advanced periodontal disease. I’m afraid of surgery, and I’m wondering if non-surgical treatment is possible. I’ve had some bad experiences with surgery, so I really appreciate any information you can provide.
Victor in Atlanta
The simple answer to your questions is yes. In fact, non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease is not only possible, but it is also very effective and allows much faster healing times than surgical techniques do. Remember that this is Blog is only meant to be informational, and a periodontist will need to make a complete examination in order to provide you with the best treatment options, but we can at least let you know what non-surgical gum treatment looks like.
Non-surgical gum treatment is also called deep cleaning or scaling and root planing. The purpose of this treatment is to clean out pockets of bacteria and debris that are undermining the structures that support the teeth, namely the soft tissues and jawbone.
Because scaling and root planing takes place below the gumline, where it is not possible to see without special instrumentation, many periodontists now use a perioscope. This instrument allows the periodontist to see what is going on below the gumline. And very often dental lasers will be used to make the procedure even more comfortable because they work with both light and water to make the treatment relatively painless.
When plaque hardens into tartar, it can begin to cause irritation and inflammation in the gum tissues. If left untreated, this inflammation will actually break down the gums, the jawbone, and the tooth roots themselves. The only option that was formerly available was a surgical procedure which moved the gums out of the way so that the deep pockets of disease could be cleaned out.
Now, with the help of the perioscope and dental lasers, non-surgical treatment no longer requires incisions, sutures, or the longer healing times that used to be needed. With the non-surgical approach, there is actually less risk that the gums will pull back or recede. And the newer approach helps the body generate new bone materials, making the teeth stronger.
Finally, many periodontists have found that non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease is effective enough to allow them to forego any further treatment. However, most patients will continue to need periodontal maintenance, or skilled periodontal cleanings, every two to four months moving forward.
Hopefully, this will help you overcome your fear and move forward with the treatment you need. Remember that if you are still afraid, you can seek out a periodontist who also offers different levels of sedation. You really can have healthy teeth and a beautiful smile with the right care.
Good luck in finding what you need for a healthy dental future.
This Blog is brought to you by David Pumphrey of Pumphrey Periodontics in Atlanta.