We can use modern techniques to help rebuild lost bone support. The emphasis in Dr. Weeks' practice is conservative periodontal therapy. Many times, early stages of periodontal disease is best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. This usually consists of a definitive treatment procedure designed to remove altered cementum or surface dentin that is rough, impregnated with calculus, or contaminated with toxins or microorganisms. This procedure is called root planning. Four to six weeks later, periodontal pockets are eliminated due to gum shrinkage. Then the patient can personally maintain these areas with routine brushing and flossing.
Even in most severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical periodontal therapy most often precedes surgical therapy. This is done so that the overall tissue quality is improved prior to surgery and also limits the areas of required surgery.
Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. The first step is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gumline.
The tooth roots may also be planed to smooth the root surface allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment.
Antibiotics or irrigation with antimicrobials (chemical agents or mouthrinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, Dr. Weeks will place antimicrobial agents such as doxycycline gels or chlorhexidine chips in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.
When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for Dr. Weeks to thoroughly remove plaque and tarter. Patients can seldom, if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.