If gum disease is diagnosed, your dentist may provide treatment, or you may be referred to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases. Treatment often depends on how far the condition has progressed and how well your body responds to therapy.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
Prevention includes a good daily oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner help prevent plaque from forming. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are important.
Scaling and root planing is a method of treating periodontal disease when pockets are greater than 3 mm. Scaling is used to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gumline. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Using an instrument called a small scaler or an ultrasonic cleaner, the dentist carefully removes plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. The tooth's root surfaces then are smoothed or planed. This allows the gum tissue to heal. It also makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces.
Your dentist may recommend, prescribe and administer medications to help control infection and pain or to facilitate healing. At a follow-up appointment, the dentist checks how the gums have healed and how the periodontal pockets have decreased. When pockets greater than 3 mm persist after treatment, additional measures may be needed.
You'll be given instructions on how to care for your healing teeth and gums. Maintaining good oral hygiene and continued, sometimes lifelong, follow-up by your dentist are essential to help prevent periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.