Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy
Periodontal disease, or Periodontitis is an infection caused by bacteria which are present in the oral cavity, and which adhere to the teeth. Over time, if not removed, this bacterial plaque tends to harden or calcify and become tarter, or calculus. The presence of bacterial plaque and calculus, if unchecked, will cause redness and swelling of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. This is called gingivitis, and gingivitis is easily reversed, by professional debridement and good home care by the patient.
If plaque and calculus remain on the tooth surface, and inflammation is not addressed, loss of the bone which supports the teeth will occur. This is evident on radiographs, and by increased probing depths, bleeding upon probing and often purulence or pus emanating from the tissues surrounding the teeth. Periodontitis is generally not painful, and often the first manifestation is inflammation, and if allowed to progress untreated, it can lead to mobility of the teeth, and in advanced cases, loss of teeth.
The first step of periodontal treatment is debridement of plaque and calculus. This is accomplished by a thorough professional cleaning of the teeth, either by a registered dental hygienist, a dentist, or a periodontist. This procedure is called scaling and root planing, and is often performed with local anesthesia. Generally treatment is rendered on one side of the mouth and the second side is treated later.
Depending upon the severity of the periodontal disease, scaling and root planing may result in complete resolution, or further, surgical periodontal therapy may be necessary to establish a state of periodontal health. One of the most important aspects of periodontal therapy is the establishment of a meticulous home care regimen by the patient. Studies have shown that periodontal therapy in the absence of good home care will almost always, fail.
Appropriate home care means brushing, flossing and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day. Doctor Bouffard and his staff will recommend an appropriate home care regimen, including specific toothbrush, floss and mouthwash recommendations following your initial consultation, based upon many factors. You may be prescribed medication or prescription mouthwashes or other medications to further assist you in your quest to achieve periodontal health. A list of these medications and links for further information is included in the links section of this webpage.