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Treating Periodontal Disease

Jan 21, 2008
Controlling the infection is the primary aim when treating periodontal disease. The type of treatment employed will vary in different individuals and is dependant upon the cause as well as the severity of the gum disease. With all treatments, what is vital is that the patient carries out a good daily dental care routine at home. Changing habits that are adverse to dental health, including quitting the use of all tobacco products is also one of the steps that will improve the outcome of the treatment.

Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)

The deep cleaning procedure includes scaling and root planing and is a procedure that can only be carried out by a dentist, dental hygienist or a periodontist. During scaling, the tartar that is above and below the gum line is scraped off. Root planing is done to get rid of the disease-causing bacteria and to remove rough sots on the root of the tooth, where germs tend to gather.


Though they cannot always be used to replace surgery, medications are often used along side other periodontal treatments including scaling and root planing. Despite using medication, surgical treatment may still be recommended depending upon the severity of the gum disease.

Some of the medications currently used when treating periodontal disease include:

Prescription antimicrobial mouthrinse that contains chlorhexidine, which is an antimicrobial. It is used like a regular mouthwash and helps control bacteria during the treatment of gingivitis. It is also often prescribed following gum surgery.

Antiseptic "chip", a tiny piece of gelatin filled with chlorhexidine helps control bacteria and decreases the size of periodontal pockets. After root planing, the chips are placed in the pockets where the medicine is released a little at a time.

Antibiotic gel that contains doxycline works to control the bacteria and reduce the size of the periodontal pockets. The gel is placed in the pockets after scaling and root planing, and the antibiotic is slowly released over a period of about seven days.

Antibiotic micro-spheres, tiny minocycline-containing particles also help control bacteria and decrease the size of the periodontal pockets. The micro-spheres are placed into the pockets after scaling and root planing and the antibiotic is slowly released over a period of time.

A low dose of enzyme suppressant, doxycycline, keeps destructive enzymes in check and prevents them from breaking down gum tissue. This medication comes in the form of a pill and is typically used in combination with root planing and scaling.


Flap Surgery: A common surgical practice that involves removal of tartar after lifting back the gums. The gums are then sutured back in place in order to make the tissue fit snugly around the tooth again. Flap surgery is undertaken if the inflammation and deep pockets persist despite deep cleaning and treatment with medications.

Bone and Tissue Grafts: Often done in addition to flap surgery, bone or tissue grafts replace and encourage new growth of bone or gum tissue that has been destroyed by periodontitis. Guided tissue regeneration is often done along side bone grafting. This procedure involves inserting a tiny piece of mesh-like fabric between the gum tissue and the bone. This prevents the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone is supposed to be, thus allowing the connective tissue and the bone to grow unhindered.
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