In its early stages, gum disease can be treated using a non-surgical approach. When the pocket depth is between 4 and 6 millimeters deep (normal depth in healthy gums is 1-3 mm), a Scaling and Root Planing procedure is done to remove the plaque and calculus deep in the pockets. Under local anesthesia (commonly referred to as Novocaine), the teeth are scraped and cleaned using an ultrasonic device and hand instruments similar to those used during a routine cleaning. There is no cutting of the gum tissue, although minor bleeding from the pockets frequently occurs. The scaling and root planing may be followed with irrigation of the pockets using an antibacterial solution, antibiotic granules deposited into the pocket, or laser disinfection of the pockets. In the weeks following treatment, the gum tissue should become firm and healthy, and the pocket depth should decrease.
Written home care instructions will be given and should be followed. Minimal discomfort is typical and expected following non-surgical gum treatment. Patients should be meticulous with their brushing and flossing following non-surgical gum treatment to prevent relapse of the disease, and should see our hygienist at 3 month intervals until it is evident that the gum disease has been arrested. Should persistent pocketing remain after a reasonable period of reassessment, a minor surgical gum procedure may be necessary to fully return the area to health.