Periodontal Care

How is periodontal disease treated?

Dr. Watts or our dental hygienists may recommend periodontal therapy after a periodontal evaluation. Our recommendations are based on measurements of the gum tissues around your teeth, the amount of bleeding, plaque, and calculus present, and the amount of gum inflammation and bone levels around your teeth,

The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a specialized type of cleaning, often known as root debridement therapy. This is a conservative, non-surgical procedure to remove the dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, and infected tissue below the gum line and from the root surfaces of the teeth. Anesthetic may be used to numb the area and keep you comfortable. Ultrasonic cleaning technology is used to remove the bacteria and antimicrobial agents are often used to break up the film of bacteria on the teeth.

An animated illustration showing the process of scaling


When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces are removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool usually includes an irrigation process that can be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help reduce oral bacteria.

An animated depiction of a root planing procedure

Root Planing:

Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins, and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed, which promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.

Antibiotics and antimicrobial mouth rinses may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In advanced cases, Dr. Watts may recommend working with a periodontist, a dentist specialized in treating gum and bone problems.

Benefits of Treatment

Successful treatment reduces the risk of tooth loss due to gum disease and can extend the longevity of your teeth and possibly your life. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body, raising our risk of other health conditions. Root debridement therapy reduces the bacteria and inflammation that cause these conditions. In addition, healthy teeth and gums are always more attractive than a diseased mouth!

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