Periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontium—the tissues that support the teeth. The periodontium consists of four tissues:
- Gingiva, or gum tissue;
- Cementum, or outer layer of the roots of teeth;
- Alveolar bone, or the bony sockets into which the teeth are anchored;
- Periodontal ligaments (PDLs), which are the connective tissue fibers that run between the cementum and the alveolar bone.
Non-surgical therapy removes plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) by controlling the growth of harmful bacteria and by treating conditions that encourage gum disease. This type of treatment may be all that’s needed, especially when periodontal disease is caught in the earlier stages.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling is a type of debridment that removes plaque and calculus from the teeth at and slightly below the gumline. Root planing smoothes root surfaces, so the supportive tissues can better reattach to the tooth surface. Often, this will be done with local anesthesia so you can relax and feel nothing as we reestablish the health of your gums.
Periodontal disease is a bacterial disease and the key to controlling or eliminating it is the effective reduction or elimination of the harmful bacteria. An adjunctive option to scaling and root planing may be provided in either pill form or applied directly to the infected area (gum pocket) in the form of antibiotic powder. Chlorahexidine, an antibacterial mouth rinse, also may be prescribed to help control the harmful effects of bacterial plaque.