A Guide to Periodontal Therapy
I believe you will find my guide to Periodontal Therapy to be a valuable extension to my guide on Periodontal Disease.
In this guide, I will share with you my knowledge, experience, and treatment examples that relate to surgical and non-surgical therapies for treating periodontal disease.
My name is Dr. Rana Shahi, DDS, MS, MSD, and owner of LA Periodontics & Implant Specialists --- which is one of the leading periodontal centers in Los Angeles and Brentwood, California.
If you're searching to learn as much as you can about periodontal therapy, you are in the right place. I hope that you will my guide to be of value.
DR. RANA G. SHAHI, DDS, MS, MSD
Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
What Is Periodontal Therapy?
We have all heard of therapy—a treatment meant to heal either the body or the mind. Popular types of therapy include physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and chemotherapy.
But did you know there is also therapy you can get for your mouth?
More specifically, your gums?
It is called periodontal therapy.
Periodontal therapy is the treatment used to treat gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is fairly common among adults. Half of Americans aged 30 and above have periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque build-up on the teeth. As the plaque hardens, toxins are released from the bacteria, causing the gums to become irritated. The gums around the teeth become increasingly damaged with the progression of the disease, as does the hard tissue, or bone, that supports the teeth.
In its earliest stages, periodontal disease exhibits symptoms such as red, inflamed gums or bleeding gums when you floss. In its advanced stages, periodontitis can lead to gum loss, bone loss, and eventually even tooth loss.
This is why periodontal therapy is needed as early as possible at the first signs of gum disease. Fortunately, periodontal therapy today is effective, efficient, and relatively painless. There are two basic types of therapy that periodontists perform to treat or prevent gum disease: surgical periodontal therapy and non-surgical periodontal therapy. (We talk about each in-depth in the chapters below.)
Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy
Non-surgical periodontal therapy is the preferred treatment route. The American Academy of Periodontology strongly encourages periodontists to treat their patients in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner possible. Non-surgical therapy makes this possible, but it is only effective for those with early-stage gum disease.
The most common non-surgical therapy option is scaling and root planing, which is essentially a deep cleaning of the gums and teeth. In the same way that physical therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy requires multiple appointments, periodontal therapy typically requires return visits as well as at-home treatments. Being consistent with your at-home treatment is key in order for the therapy to be effective long term.
Surgical Periodontal Therapy
Surgical periodontal procedures are more extensive and are reserved for those who are experiencing gum or bone loss due to gum disease. Surgical treatments can include pocket reduction surgery, gum grafts, bone grafts, gingival flap surgery, and osseous surgery. Your periodontist will determine which surgery is best for you, depending on how advanced your periodontitis is.
In summary, what is periodontal therapy? It is a therapy that treats unhealthy gums caused by plaque build-up. It can be surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical options typically include several appointments and at-home treatment. Surgical options typically require one surgery and are usually out-patient, so you are in and out in a day or afternoon. If you have early signs of gum disease, the sooner you can make an appointment with your periodontist, the better.
Keep reading to learn more about periodontal therapy and what type of therapy might be right for you.
Please check back. We are updating this page with new content.