The number one reason for tooth loss in America is gum disease also known as Periodontal disease. Often a painless condition, it can progress without any symptoms until serious damage to gums and bone have occurred. Patient education and pro-active therapy can avert this disease.
We perform a thorough periodontal screening at the initial visit. We take and study digital x-rays. We make a diagnosis of the type of gum condition that exists in each patient. We measure the depth of the gum collar, the recession (pulling away of gum from tooth), looseness, and heavy wear and grinding patterns. We take special note of depths of 4mm or greater (known as pockets) and bleeding points.
Scaling and Root planing is an initial therapy performed by the dental hygienist. This non-surgical method of treating Periodontal Disease is performed when pockets (4mm or greater) exist. A local anesthetic is used to numb the gum tissue. The hygienist will use the ultrasonic scaler to begin the removal of plaque, tartar, and debris below the gum line. Then a series of special instruments are used to further removed tartar and bacterial as well as smooth and plane the root surface. The final procedure is performed by the Doctor who uses (soft tissue diode) Laser Therapy to disinfect the pocket and encourage healing and shorten recovery time.
We coach each SRP patient to adhere to a strict routine of brushing, flossing, rubber tip, and using various products which are anti-bacterial or anti-inflammatory.
We follow with these patients approximately one month later to repeat the gum collar measurements, evaluate any areas of inflammation and plaque removal effectiveness. The hygienist may perform a fine scale and polish. Typically we recommend the patient be seen on a three month interval which is known as Periodontal Maintenance. If the condition does not improve, the patient may be referred to a specialist.