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How is Periodontal Disease Treated?

What is Scaling & Root Planing?

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that penetrates into the gums and into the bone around your teeth, causing inflammation. Periodontal inflammation leads to bone loss, and possibly tooth loss, and may contribute to other serious medical conditions.

The periodontal infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal. There are generally two levels of treatment for this condition depending upon the severity of your infection.

Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling: The periodontist first removes the upper level of infected calculus. Root Planing: Next, he smooths the root to reduce the ability of new bacteria to adhere.

Scaling and Root Planing

The surface level of infection in the pockets around your teeth can be removed using specialized instruments. This procedure is called, “Scaling and Root Planing," “Phase One Treatment" or “Initial Therapy." It is done under local anesthesia and is quite different from the routine dental cleaning that is traditionally done.

Surgical Therapy

If your infection has spread into the bone that supports your teeth and is below the level that can be reached, then a surgical procedure can be performed to retract the gums and remove the deeper infection.

This is typically advised when a pocket has formed under the gum. This is a result of the infection dissolving bone. If this has been caught in time and the tooth can be retained, surgery can help by reducing the pocket - sometimes, with pocket reduction surgery and/or bone grafting.

When periodontal disease reaches this lower level, it dissolves the bone around the teeth and can lead to bone loss. Once the infection has been removed, we repair the damaged area with a procedure called Bone Grafting.