Gingivitis and periodontitis are conditions that will cause significant tooth and gum deterioration, and even tooth loss. In a healthy mouth, the pocket between your gums and teeth are usually between 1-3mm deep. However, in a mouth with periodontal disease, bacteria sit in the pockets and attack the gums, creating pockets of 4mm and more. After a certain point, the infection has become too deep for a regular toothbrush and floss to reach. In this case, home care is inadequate in fighting the gum infection.
In order to properly treat periodontal disease, Dr. Lee or one of our hygienists will perform a scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning. In this procedure, your mouth is divided into four quadrants (Upper Right, Lower Right, Upper Left and Lower Left), and the pockets around each tooth are carefully cleaning and smoothed. This cleans the infection out and allows room for the gums to heal.
Each quadrant takes about 0.5-1 hour to deep clean, depending on the condition of your gums. During your visit, it is necessary to numb the area to make sure you don’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, treatment may take 2-4 separate appointments to complete.
After finishing treatment, it’s important to keep up maintenance with regular visits to our office, every 3-4 months. While the gums are healing, bacteria begin to accumulate again in the pockets, and it is still impossible to take care of the problem at home. During your periodontal maintenance visits, we make sure the area is clean, is healing properly and that the infection is controlled. If regular visits are not completed, the periodontal disease may return and another course of scaling and root planing may be recommended.