Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy

KatieM

Katie Moynihan, BS RDH

Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy

If your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned. However, many people think it is normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss. False! Inflammation and bleeding are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If not treated quickly and properly, those early signs of gingivitis may lead to a more serious infection called periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues around the teeth including the gums, the periodontal ligament, and the bone. As the plaque in your mouth spreads and accumulates below the gum line, the toxins within that plaque infect and break down the “foundation” that hold your teeth in place. If not treated with periodontal therapy, the disease will only get worse and tooth loss may occur.

In the presence of periodontal disease, a “regular” prophylaxis cleaning can NOT be completed. The definition of prophylaxis is the prevention of disease. Once periodontal disease is diagnosed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend non-surgical periodontal therapy. Non-surgical periodontal therapy is also referred to as scaling and root planing, or a deep cleaning. Scaling and root planing involves thoroughly removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) that resides above and below the compromised gums. Smoothing the tooth roots allows a clean surface for tissue re-attachment and pocket reduction. Local anesthetic is recommended to make this procedure comfortable and painless for the patient. The goal for non-surgical periodontal therapy is to treat and eliminate the active infection, reduce periodontal pocketing around teeth, prevent further bone loss. The shallower the pockets are around your teeth, the easier they are to keep clean and healthy! When periodontal health is achieved, your oral health care provider will recommended more frequent periodontal maintenance cleanings every 3-4 months to keep tissues healthy and stabilized. In few circumstances where periodontal health cannot be achieved, a referral to a Periodontist may be recommended for further treatment.

Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease:

  • Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Pain/sensitivity when chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums

You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. In recent years, gum disease has been linked to overall health problems. You can read more about those on Andra’s recent blog post Oral Health: A Window to your Overall Health! Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

www.perio.org

www.colgate.com

What is a Periodontal Maintenance?

AriannaM

Arianna Ritchey RDH

What is a Periodontal Maintenance?

One of the terms that is commonly used by dental professionals, and also commonly misunderstood by patients, is ‘Periodontal Maintenance.’  A periodontal maintenance procedure is similar to a prophy, or general adult cleaning, but is a more involved procedure meant for patients who have periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is characterized by deep periodontal pockets, inflammation, and bone loss.  Periodontal disease is an irreversible condition which, if left untreated, may lead to further bone loss and eventually tooth loss.  In order to treat periodontal disease, a dental hygienist or dentist will likely recommend a procedure called a “deep cleaning,” also known as SRP, or scaling and root planing.  Once a deep cleaning is completed, inflammation will reduce and periodontal pockets may decrease in depth.  When the patient’s periodontal status has stabilized, the next step in the care of the teeth and gums is periodontal maintenance, or more colloquially, “perio maintenance.”

Perio_Health

Periodontal maintenance is a teeth cleaning procedure which is done at either 3, 4, or 6 month intervals, depending on the patient’s needs.  The purpose of the periodontal maintenance procedure is to maintain the level of the periodontal disease present, and to prevent it from getting any worse.  Unfortunately, bone that has been lost as a result of periodontal disease does not grow back, and as such, periodontal pockets may remain at a deeper-than-optimal level despite the initial deep cleaning therapy.  These deep periodontal pockets collect plaque and tartar, and are impossible to clean properly with a toothbrush, floss, and other dental hygiene aids.  In order to keep these periodontal pockets clean and prevent further bone loss, it is necessary to have a dental hygienist regularly perform professional cleanings.

perio probe

Periodontal maintenance involves a dental hygienist scaling and root planing some areas in order to remove irritating tartar buildup.  When a dental hygienist performs root planing, instrumentation is completed below the gumline all the way to the bottom of the periodontal pocket.  This cleaning of the root surface below the gumline is what makes a periodontal maintenance different, more involved, and potentially more costly  than a prophy, or regular cleaning.

scaling-root-planing

In patients who have deep periodontal pockets, a prophy, or general cleaning, is not beneficial, because the irritating plaque and tartar below the gumline that is causing the most irritation and loss of bone is not removed during a prophy or general cleaning.  Performing a general cleaning on a patient with periodontal disease would be similar to sweeping dirt under the rug instead of properly cleaning a floor.  The offending dirt in the case of the floor,  or the bacteria-infused-tartar in the case of the mouth, is still present and causing harm.


Sweep-Dirt-Under-the-Rug-570x566

As dental hygienists, our primary goal and concern is to assist patients in maintaining the healthiest oral cavity possible.  Providing periodontal maintenance treatments for our patients who have periodontal disease at 3, 4, or 6 month intervals, along with the patient’s good oral hygiene care at home, is the best way to work towards a stable periodontal health status and to help our patients from experiencing bone and tooth loss.

perfect-smile

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources

http://jdh.adha.org/content/82/suppl_2/16.refs

http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-0/issue-9/columns/staff-rx/prophy-vs-perio-maintenance.html

https://www.deltadental.com/Public/Study/StudyPerio.jsp