Non-Surgical Treatment of Periodontal Disease: An Evidence-Based, Anti-Infective Approach
Early stages of periodontal disease can usually be treated with conservative, modern techniques to help heal the infected or damaged tissue. This consists of “root planing” with a comfortable ultrasonic instrument which is placed between the tooth and gum tissue to remove any plaque and calculus below the gum line. Culturing of subgingival bacteria is sometimes done so that the infection can be targeted with specific antibiotic therapy given in conjunction with treatment. We also place antibiotics (Arestin® or Atridox®) under the gum and use Periostat® (doxcycline, 20 mg.) to further add to the healing process. This multi-pronged, anti-infective approach is the basis of Drs. Levine and Fava’s non-surgical treatment. Drs. Levine and Fava pride themselves on the fact that they are very conservative in their treatment recommendations and limit surgery to only those circumstances where it is absolutely necessary.
At the reevaluation appointment four weeks later, periodontal pockets are often eliminated due to gum shrinkage. The goal is for the patient to be able to personally maintain these areas with routine brushing and flossing in conjunction with professional cleanings with Drs. Levine and Fava’s office and your general dentist.
In advanced 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 helps limit the areas of required surgery.
Periodontal Maintenance Program
Ongoing treatment for all forms of periodontal disease, regardless of severity, requires meticulous oral hygiene and professional maintenance following active treatment. Typically, patients are seen at three to six month intervals following active periodontal therapy to monitor results and prevent recurrence of the disease.
Related articles from our Patient Education Center:
- Alba, B.A. “A New Perspective on Periodontal Treatment?” Doctor of Dentistry. April 2009.
- Levine, R.A. “Can Your Heart be Hurt by Your Mouth?” Times Newspapers. May 1, 2012.
- “Gum Disease May Raise Cancer Risk,” (press release). Retrieved from Health News. 2004.
- Gum Disease and Your Unborn Baby’s Health (patient handout)
- Periodontal Disease and Other Serious Systemic Diseases (patient handout)
- Gum Disease May Increase Stomach Ulcer Risk (press release). Retrieved from MedWire. March 31, 2009.
- Levine, Rethman, Serio. “Whatever Happened to Treating Periodontal Disease?,” Inside Dentistry. 2010.