Periodontitis, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is one of the most common diseases in the world; it’s estimated to affect almost half of all Americans. Whilst common, the condition can be very serious, as the structures that support teeth become inflamed; this can cause teeth to fall out and the jaw to be severely damaged.
Periodontal disease can be reversed in its very early form, a condition known as gingivitis, but once the gum disease has advanced, the only option available is to treat the disease and manage the symptoms. Treatments available include both surgical and non-surgical options.
It’s often the case that non-surgical options for managing the condition will be explored first, as they’re normally more affordable and significantly less invasive. While non-surgical treatments are not always possible, or the most effective option, they can be incredibly beneficial in many cases. Non-surgical treatments are often where dentists choose to begin when suggesting initial treatment for periodontitis.
The main purpose of non-surgical periodontal therapy is to get rid of bacteria and toxins from teeth in order to better control the infection. Depending on the type of periodontal disease that a patient has, the exact treatment course will vary. Sometimes minor treatments can be suggested to address the early signs of periodontal disease, whilst in other situations, more extensive non-surgical treatments will be required.
Here are six examples of non-surgical periodontal treatments, some very common and some relatively new, that may be suggested by your dentist for the treatment of periodontitis:
One of the most important areas of periodontitis management is good oral hygiene, so it’s often the case that oral health training is where a treatment plan for non-surgical periodontitis therapy will begin. It’s very important for people with periodontal diseases to look after their oral health, so a dentist may suggest a number of improvements to a patient’s daily oral hygiene routine.
The suggestions could include which products to use to maintain the best oral hygiene, such as using a different toothbrush, mouth wash, or toothpaste. Different techniques for brushing and flossing may also be suggested, as well as other habits for good oral hygiene, like the use of interproximal brushes. Other changes, particularly to lifestyle, could be suggested; giving up smoking is one of the most important changes for good oral health.
Routine cleaning is normally advised as a preventive measure against developing periodontitis and as a great addition to everyday oral hygiene practices, yet, it can also be suggested as a non-surgical treatment for periodontal diseases. For patients that have shown signs of early gingivitis, regular routine cleaning can be used to address the problem by removing dental plaque.
Normally, a routine cleaning will involve plaque and tartar being manually removed by the dentist with a scaler. The area around the gum line and the area between teeth will be targeted during this treatment. Professional cleaning at a dental practice is normally advised at least a couple of times per year to maintain excellent oral health.
Scaling and root planing are a combination treatment that’s advised in a vast majority of cases where patients require non-surgical periodontal therapy. Deep cleaning is normally used as part of ongoing therapy, where a maintenance plan is designed by the dentist. Yet, in some cases, scaling and root planing can be so successful that it’s the only treatment that’s required to manage periodontal diseases, with the exception of a good oral health routine.
The first stage of the treatment, scaling, involves the removal of tartar and plaque from the teeth. During the scaling, a special instrument will be used to remove the plaque and tartar from above the gum line; this is sometimes achieved in one appointment, but it’s not uncommon for multiple appointments to be required.
The second stage of the treatment, root planing, involves cleaning under the gums. Rough areas will be smoothed out during the treatment as the root surface is scaled. Root planing normally requires the use of an anesthetic and is generally undertaken in conjunction with scaling.
Scaling and root planing treatment addresses both existing tartar and plaque build-up, as well as the reoccurrence of plaque and tarter, as both will have much more difficulty forming on the newly-smooth tooth surface. In many cases, this treatment will be the first point of call for dentists looking for the best and most effective way to treat more advanced cases of periodontitis.
Locally delivered antimicrobial medications are another common non-surgical periodontal therapy used by dentists to manage periodontitis. This treatment is normally used in conjunction with scaling and root planing treatment, as the success of this therapy is often dependent on the success of scaling and planing.
During this treatment, the antimicrobial medications are placed in periodontal pockets with the purpose of either temporarily stopping or permanently removing bacteria related to gum disease. Often, the use of antimicrobial medications will need to be ongoing and are commonly suggested in cases where an area of the mouth has persistent problems.
Host modulation therapy is a new concept in the treatment of periodontal diseases but has been used for a number of years to treat very different conditions, such as arthritis. The purpose of host modulation therapy is to change host response factors by using perioceutic agents, in order to stabilize inflammatory tissue and lower the destruction of tissue.
As an adjuvant treatment, host modulation is used in conjunction with primary surgical and non-surgical treatments for periodontitis. Due to the relative newness of this treatment for periodontitis, the full extent of its benefit is still being researched.
Once the active treatments for periodontitis have been completed, the next part of ongoing therapy is often for a maintenance program to be created by a dentist. The idea behind the maintenance program is to maintain good oral health with regular visits to the dentist.
During regular appointments, that will normally be scheduled closer together than normal dental check-ups, a dentist will assess oral health and ensure that the disease is controlled. Additional cleaning may need to be undertaken in these appointments, and an examination of gum recession and pocket depth is also likely to take place. With regular care, periodontal diseases can often be managed, and the symptoms reduced.
The best way to combat periodontal diseases and limit the harm that they can cause is to make sure that the disease is caught early – this will help you to avoid surgical treatment and improve the success of non-surgical treatment.If you’re concerned that you may have periodontitis or are looking for the best non-surgical treatments options to control the symptoms of the disease, then the experts at Sheehan Dental in Palos Park, IL can help!
Get into contact with us today to arrange for an appointment with one of our dental experts to talk about the options open to you for periodontitis prevention or surgical and non-surgical treatment.Tags: emergency dentistry, General Dentistry, periodontal therapy