Periodontitis is an infection of the periodontium, i.e. the supporting structures of the teeth: your gums and the underlying bone. With periodontitis, the gum comes away from your tooth, forming a periodontal pocket. Treatment consists of cleaning and disinfecting the affected area.
Initial treatment for periodontitis
Disinfection of the periodontal tissues, involving three aspects:
- Specific periodontal cleaning at home, using the proper tools to enable effective cleaning of your teeth and gums, including areas that are difficult to reach. As well as a regular toothbrush, electric or manual, you must use interdental brushes of a size suited to the spaces left between your teeth as a result of gum loss.
- A treatment for infection,following your dentist’s instructions. Initially, you must use a toothpaste and mouthwash containing an effective disinfectant for periodontitis, such as chlorhexidine. In some cases, we will prescribe an antibiotic treatment.
- Curettage of the affected areas. This means scraping and planing the roots and periodontal pockets to remove bacterial plaque and tartar from inflamed gums.
The effectiveness of this initial treatment is studied after one or two months. If the infection is still affecting several areas, i.e. if the pockets are still red and bleeding when examined, surgical treatment may be necessary in that inflamed periodontal area.
Surgical treatment of periodontitis
Here we lift the gum in the affected areas. This gives us open access with a clear view of the affected areas while proceeding to scrape and plane the roots, removing the parts of the gum which have come away from the teeth. We then stitch the whole area.
In some cases bone or gum will be grafted to replace lost periodontal tissue.
Maintaining the results obtained
The result of the periodontal treatment largely depends on the extent to which you collaborate. Despite having followed the correct periodontal treatment, with scraping and planing, including surgery on the pockets, if you don’t brush your teeth the way you should, all three times a day, or fail to use interdental brushes, the infection is likely to return.
Furthermore, you must use a special toothpaste and mouthwash every day to keep your gums in good condition. Those containing chlorhexidine must not be used for extended periods given that it eventually becomes aggressive for the oral mucosa and will cause your teeth to darken. For maintenance purposes, chlorhexidine can be used occasionally in the event of sporadic inflammation or bleeding.
The quality of your daily oral hygiene is essential in combatting these infections.
To guarantee the lasting effect of this treatment, you must have your mouth cleaned frequently and periodically at your dentist’s, normally every six months. This special maintenance procedure for your gums must be continued throughout your life and is probably the most important part of the treatment.