Non-surgical Gum Treatment

What is non-surgical gum treatment?

Non-surgical gum treatment is a way of treating the early stages of gum disease. It is more conservative than periodontal surgery and designed to save you money and the discomfort of the invasive treatment needed in the more advanced stage of the disease.

Why would I need non-surgical gum treatment?

  • During an exam by the dentist or hygienist we check the gum tissue for signs of disease. The signs include bleeding gums, pus, loose teeth, bad mouth odor, puffy gums, heavy deposits of tarter and plaque beneath the gum line and periodontal (gum tissue) pockets.
  • We use a little round ruler to measure the distance from the gum line to the place beneath the gum line where the gum and tooth are firmly attached. We measure the distance in millimeters. Numbers higher than 3 are bad with the severity of the disease worse with the higher numbers. It’s like keeping score in par 3 golf.
  • Higher numbers indicate that the gum has pulled away from the tooth and that bone is being lost.
  • Non-surgical treatment is usually recommended when the numbers range from 4-6 and some of the other signs mentioned above are present. Numbers greater than 6 are generally treatable only with surgery at the specialist’s office.

How is the treatment done?

  • You may have heard the terms scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing thoroughly clean the tooth and exposed root beneath the gum line of all tarter, plaque and irritants that are the primary cause of gum disease. This is sort of like scraping barnacles from the bottom of a boat .
  • Depending on the number of teeth and areas of the mouth involved, the treatment can be spread over 2 or more visits. If we anticipate discomfort, the areas of treatment are anesthetized in a way appropriate for the procedure (not necessarily with an injection).
  • After a few weeks we see you back again to reexamine the areas to see the degree of healing and status of the disease.
  • Periodontal disease is not a curable disease but it is a rather a manageable disease. We manage it by deciding on the best interval for continuing care ( 3,4 or 6 months between visits) and the methods of care you need to perform at home to manage your part of the treatment.