Periodontal treatment methods depend on the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in these pockets, they can damage the gums and, eventually, the bone that supports the teeth.
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions for developing daily oral hygiene habits and reminded to have regular dental cleanings and checkups.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning--scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)--will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and promote healing.
If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, which will make your teeth easier to clean. If warranted, the dentist may also recommend that you see a periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).