Non-Surgical Gum Therapy

During the early part of the twentieth century, people who developed gum disease, better known as pyorrhea, would soon lose their teeth at an early age. Then treatment was developed to treat the disease with the use of surgery, however, the disease process continued. During the early eighties, the cause of gum disease was determined to be a result of a bacterial infection. It is with this new information that the non-surgical therapy concept developed.

Recently, newspapers and periodicals have been reporting on research which shows a correlation between periodontal disease and stroke, heart attack, diabetes, pre-term, low birth weight infants and stomach ulcers. About 65 percent of the adult population in this country suffer from some form of periodontal disease. The major cause of this disease is the accumulation of bacteria-ridden plaque under the gum line.

There are two ways to treat periodontal (gum) disease: surgically and non-surgically. A large majority of patients can be adequately treated non-surgically, if the disease is discovered and treated before it becomes too advanced. Because the only type of treatment performed in our Noblesville office is the non-surgical variety, the following information will deal exclusively with our approach to non-surgical periodontal treatment.

Your non-surgical gum treatment program will consist of two types of appointments: active therapy appointments and a re-evaluation appointment. Active therapy appointments consist of measuring the gums to determine the extent of the disease, scaling and root planing of the teeth to promote healing, irrigation to fight unwanted bacteria, and home care instruction to equip you to restore and maintain health. The re-evaluation appointment, which should be scheduled about a month after the final active therapy appointment, is an opportunity to measure the amount of improvement obtained, evaluate any problem areas that remain, and discuss the best possible options for maintaining periodontal health in the years to come.

Non-surgical therapy removes plaque and calculus 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 early. You may also need to have certain procedures, such as replacing worn fillings or crowns with overhanging margins that can accumulate plaque, taken care of before periodontal therapy can begin.

Scaling and Root Planing: Scaling is a type of cleaning 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 rehabilitate your gums.

Antibiotics: 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. An antibacterial mouth rinse also may be prescribed to help control the harmful effects of and reduce bacterial plaque.

Occlusal Adjustment: An improper bite or a traumatic occlusion may increase bone destruction attached to such offending teeth. We may either choose to adjust your bite so that your teeth meet properly and function better or construct a custom bite guard or splint- a removable device that fits over upper or lower teeth – to protect teeth surfaces and relax tense jaw muscles.