Diagnosis and treatment planning: Building foundations for beautiful smiles starts with healthy gums and bone to support teeth. Bacterial plaque and calculus at the gumline will result in the development of inflamed gums (Gingivitis) and eventually may result in the loss of bone supporting teeth (Periodontitis). With bone loss, pockets form beneath the gumline that harbor bacteria and lead to progressive loss of support. Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss but can be avoided with proper and timely care. For more information, read what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says regarding Periodontal Disease.
- Patients referred due to periodontal disease concerns undergo a detailed examination so that an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan can be developed. Dr. White will present the treatment plan to each patient and may schedule an additional visit to discuss your treatment plan in greater detail. Your Dentist plays a central role in your periodontal therapy. You may be asked to return to your Dentist to have procedures performed that will aid your periodontal therapy. These procedures commonly include removing teeth that cannot be saved, restoring teeth to repair tooth decay or to prevent food impaction between teeth, performing root canals to eliminate pain and infection, or making appliances to wear at night to protect your teeth from excess pressure. Returning to your dentist for these procedures will greatly enhance your periodontal therapy.
- Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy:
Periodontal therapy usually begins with Scaling and Root Planing (SRP), a meticulous cleaning of the deeper pockets that were detected during your examination. Therapy includes improving oral hygiene techniques to more efficiently remove plaque from tooth surfaces. You will be asked to brush at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. An oral hygiene program will be recommended that meets your needs. The combination of SRP and good oral hygiene results in healthier gums and a reduction in pocket depths. You will be asked to return for an examination 4-6 weeks after the completion of SRP to determine if pockets have been reduced to acceptable depths and if gums are healthy.
- Videoscope Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery (V-MIS):
Periodontal Flap Surgery is recommended to gain access to deeper pockets to remove bacterial plaque and calculus. We perform a minimally invasive procedure to access bone defects and clean them using a high power microscope called a Videoscope. The high magnification view of the bone defects ensures thorough cleaning. The bone defects are treated with a bone graft and a biologic called Emdogain that promotes bone regeneration. Most sites treated with V-MIS require only one stitch. Patients routinely report little or no pain or bleeding.
- Laser Pocket Therapy:
Patients with milder severity of periodontal disease have the option of undergoing a laser procedure. This procedure is effective for patients with 4-6 mm pockets and good oral hygiene. Laser Pocket Therapy is performed under local anesthesia but produces almost no bleeding or postoperative discomfort.
- Maintenance therapy:
Once your gums are healthy and pocket depths are reduced to acceptable levels, you will begin a program to keep you gums healthy long-term. Periodontal maintenance visits are usually scheduled every 3 months, often alternating between your Periodontist and your Dentist. The long-term success of periodontal therapy is determined by the quality of periodontal maintenance therapy. Failure to maintain good oral hygiene or to schedule frequent maintenance visits often results in recurrent periodontal problems.