Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting teeth. It is usually painless, and patients may not know they have it. At Oasis Dental, Dr. Linda Gherman uses a small dental instrument called a periodontal probe during each examination to measure the pockets (spaces) between your teeth and gums. When gums are healthy, the depths of these pockets should measure three millimeters or less and not bleed. The pockets will get deeper as periodontal disease progresses and there will be more inflammation and bleeding noticeable.
The initial therapy for periodontal disease is called scaling and root planning, popularly known as a deep cleaning. Dr. Gherman uses a special instrument called a piezoelectric scaler to remove plaque, calculus (tartar), and toxins from above and below the gum line, as well as to disturb the bacterial biofilm. This type of scaler is quieter, less invasive and traumatizing to the tissue than traditional ultrasonic scalers, and yet more powerful and efficient. In addition, Dr. Gherman will use special dental curettes to smooth the root surface, promote healing, and allow the gums to reattach to the teeth. Some cases may require local anesthesia and take-home medicated rinses to further combat bacteria.
Periodontal treatment is crucially dependent on good home care. Dr. Linda Gherman will discuss your current oral hygiene habits and offer advice or ideas to help you improve your gum health. Periodontal disease is a chronic condition, which most patients will have to work to control for the rest of their lives, and research shows bacteria can re-colonize a periodontal pocket in 90 days. Therefore, it is imperative to follow a maintenance schedule with dental cleanings every 3-4 months.