Lesson 4: Treatment

As diagnosis and treatment occur, each individual patient’s progress is recorded and tracked using a specialized periodontal chart. There are many different types of charts used throughout the world for charting.

Dental professionals treat periodontal disease with two general types of procedures: nonsurgical treatments, which include scaling, root planing, and antimicrobials; and surgical procedures, which include pocket reduction, regeneration, crown lengthening, and soft tissue grafts.

Dr. Lee to Martin: "I am going to explain the treatment options and refer you to a Periodontist."

Image: Specialized periodontal chart.
People with periodontal disease may be treated by dentists specializing in Periodontics. There are many other specialties in dentistry, such as: Endodontics, Orthodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Prosthodontics. Children may be seen by a dentist practicing Pedodontics.

Dr. Lee to Martin: "Let’s review the nonsurgical treatment options for periodontitis."

Nonsurgical treatments are minimally invasive and generally effective for controlling periodontal disease.

Scaling removes calculus and plaque attached to the tooth surfaces below the gingival margin on the root surface. Periodontal scaling is usually performed one quadrant at a time.

Root planing smoothes out irregularities on the cementum that attract plaque and removes any remaining calculus left after scaling.

Image#1: Root scaling. Image#2: Root planing.

For some patients, a local anesthetic (anesthesia) may be needed to numb the area receiving treatment. Local antimicrobial agents may be used as an adjunct to scaling and planing.

After nonsurgical treatment, most patients do not require additional procedures as long as periodontal health is maintained with a program of regular oral hygiene.