Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that is the biggest cause of tooth loss in over-40s. It is an advanced stage of gum disease where sufficient amounts of the bacteria biofilm known as plaque accumulates at the spot where teeth come through the gums, infecting the tissue and bone that support the teeth.
As the tissue starts to break down, pockets form in the gum around the teeth, which allow more plaque to form. This is known as chronic periodontitis and has been linked to increased inflammation in the body, which may lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
The first stage in periodontal treatment is a non-surgical cleaning of the pockets below the gum line. In deeper areas a treatment called root planing or deep scaling is used which cleans deep pockets and removes plaque and tartar from the tooth roots. This procedure may require local anaesthetic and several visits to the practice. Read more
Non-surgical scaling and root planing is usually successful if the periodontal pockets are shallower than 4-5mm, and your dentist or hygienist will perform a re-evaluation four to six weeks after the initial scaling and root planing to see if your oral hygiene has improved and inflammation has eased.
Pocket depths greater than 5-6mm that remain after initial therapy indicate continued active disease and will likely lead to further bone loss. This is especially true in molar tooth sites where areas between the roots have been exposed. Where non-surgical therapy is unsuccessful, periodontal surgery may be needed to stop progressive bone loss and regenerate bone where possible.
A post treatment maintenance regimen involves regular check-ups and detailed professional cleaning every three months to prevent the accumulation of periodontitis-causing micro-organisms, and to closely monitor affected teeth so that early treatment can be given if disease comes back.
Your clinician will demonstrate in detail how to achieve consistently excellent levels of oral hygiene at home with a range of different tools and techniques.
Benefits of periodontal treatment
- Save teeth that may otherwise be lost
- Halt the spread of infection and inflammation in your mouth, which has been linked to stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s
- Stop bone loss in your jaw
- Protect your long term oral health