Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease, and several other factors. Dr. FitzPatrick will evaluate for the presence of periodontal diseases or conditions, and recommend the appropriate treatment based on the circumstaces of a particular patient. Just like patients, not all periodontal diseases are the same.
Periodontal diseases progress as the sulcus or space between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacterial plaque, and tartar, causing irritation (inflammation) to the surrounding supporting tissues. This causes the space to deepen and form what is known as a pocket. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!
If chronic periodontal disease is caught in the early stages (gingivitis), with no damage to the supporting bone, it is possible and even likely that the problem can be managed with nonsurgical methods. In addition you will be given specific instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene (plaque control) habits and having regular periodontal maintenance cleanings.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages (periodontitis), a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) may be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this non-surgical procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and various plaque control aids may be recommended to help control infection and promote healing. In addition several adjunctive treatments are available such as systemic or locally administered antibiotic therapy.
Depending on several factors, including the initial severity of disease, the response to initial therapy and the goals of treatment, periodontal surgery may be considered. Surgery can be highly effective in more advanced situations to eradicate pockets, reduce probing depths or to replace (regenerate) lost support.
Dr. FitzPatrick is also certified in Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP), a minimally invasive laser guided alternative to conventional periodontal surgery. This new treatment option is rapidly gaining favor due to its much greater patient acceptance and proven results.
The goal of treatment, regardless of the methods employed, is to restore health, esthetics and comfortable function; enhance maintainability, and therefore prognosis.