Scaling and Root Planing:
This is usually the initial treatment for periodontitis and is basically a thorough, deep cleaning of the teeth and roots below the gum line. The goal is to remove and reduce the amount of bacteria which cause periodontitis and reduce the pockets around the teeth, thereby improving your ability to clean these areas on a daily basis. This bacteria forms the plaque and calculus(tartar) that accumulates on the teeth daily. Scaling and root planing is typically performed over 1-4 visits depending on the severity of the case. A review of thorough oral hygiene techniques are given to the patient to enable them to remove the plaque on their teeth as effectivley and efficiently as possible.
After the scaling and root planing has been completed, the tissues are usually allowed to improve over a 3-4 week period to obtain the maximal response. Then a new examination of the gum tissue is performed to assess the response and determine if the situation is stable or further treatment is necessary.
Periodontal surgery is usally recommended when the pockets are still too deep to prevent future breakdown. There are 2 main goals of surgery. The first is to gain improved access for us to visualize and clean the roots of the teeth and visibly verify that all calculus and plaque is removed. The second is to physically reposition the gum tissue closer to the bone, thereby reducing the pocket depths as much as possible. This improves the ability of toothbrushes, floss and other instruments to clean the roots on a daily basis.