Periodontal Procedures

Procedures periodontists use to treat gum disease

  • Non-Surgical Treatments
  • Periodontal Surgery
  • Laser Therapy
  • Dental Implants
  • Cosmetic Procedures
  • Tray Delivery Devices

Following are some of the procedures that periodontists use to treat patients diagnosed with a periodontal (gum) disease. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. In addition, they can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to help you achieve the smile you desire.

Non-Surgical Treatments

AAP treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment, including scaling and root planing (a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins), followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment, including surgical therapy. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health. Non-surgical therapy does have its limitations, however, and when it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices.

Periodontal Surgery

If you're diagnosed with periodontal disease, your periodontist may recommend periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is necessary when your periodontist determines that the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical treatment.

Following are the four types of surgical treatments most commonly prescribed:
  • Pocket Reduction Procedures
  • Regenerative Procedures
  • Crown Lengthening
  • Soft Tissue Grafts

The Use of Lasers in Periodontal Therapy

Limited research suggests that the use of lasers as an adjunct to scaling and root planing (SRP) may improve the effectiveness of this procedure. In addition, when the lasers are used properly during periodontal therapy there can be less bleeding, swelling and discomfort to the patient during surgery. However, each laser has different wavelengths and power levels that can be used safely during different periodontal procedures. Damage to periodontal tissues can result if an inappropriate wavelength and/or power level is used during a periodontal procedure.

Dental Implants

If you've already lost a tooth to periodontal disease or other reasons, you may be interested in dental implants—the permanent tooth replacement option.

Cosmetic Procedures

In addition to procedures to treat periodontal disease, many periodontists also perform cosmetic procedures to enhance your smile. Oftentimes, patients who pursue cosmetic procedures notice improved function as well. Cosmetic procedures include:

Tray Delivery Devices

Recently, questions have been raised in regards to a tray delivery device that is marketed for the treatment of gum disease. The Academy has developed a fact sheet that aims to set forth some facts regarding this product.