Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy
It is important to understand, periodontal disease has no cure. If it can be stabilized at an early stage then tooth loss can be prevented, but follow-up is key to maintaining periodontal health. Generally a person with a history of periodontal disease is seen for periodontal maintenance cleanings every 3 months. Periodontal disease treatment varies depending on the severity. Mild to moderate periodontal disease can be treated in a general dental practice; while more advanced periodontal disease might require initial treatment in a general practice with follow-up treatment at a gum specialist or periodontist. Severe cases should be immediately evaluated by a periodontist.
Treatment in a general practice involves a procedure called Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy or scaling and root planing. In this procedure there is no cutting of the gums and in most cases no needles are required. NSPT is done a portion of the mouth at a time. It can be done in quadrants, half or full mouth at one appointment depending on the severity and insurance limitations. IN this procedure the gum is numbed. The pockets are then cleaned out using special instruments designed to remove debris way below the gumline on the root surfaces. Finally an antibiotic is placed in any pockets that are 5mm and above. This antibiotic dissolves over the next three weeks and destroys the bacteria that are causing the infection. The antibiotic allows the gum to heal without the bacteria interrupting the process.
About a month after the completion of periodontal treatment a follow-up is necessary to remeasure the pockets and evaluate healing. If any pockets remain they are treated again with an antibiotic. After periodontal therapy it is very important to have periodontal maintenance cleanings every three months. It takes 90 days for the bacteria to recolonize, to a damaging state, below the gum. Three month cleanings break up the bacteria before it can cause serious damage. If there are pockets still they can be treated with a locally placed antibiotic. Three month cleanings help avoid future break-down and additional full-mouth treatments.