Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria buildup infecting the bone, ligaments and gingiva. So in order to treat it we need to get rid of the cause of the problem.
The first step to treating periodontal disease is to mechanically remove the bacteria. To do this your hygienist will do what is called a “Scaling and root planning”. The hygienist will take her cleaning instruments and clean down the side of the tooth removing the bacteria. In that motion she will also debride the tissue in the pocket, removing the bacteria for the tissue. This motion also allows her to remove the edge of the cementum that is infected with bacteria, which removes the bacteria from the root surface and smoothes over the root surface so it is less likely to get buildup of bacteria in the future. Usually in order to make this treatment as comfortable as possible the hygienist will numb his patient.
After a few weeks of healing we re-measure the pockets and look for other signs of health or disease in the gums. If things look healthier than for most patients we will put them on a maintenance schedule where they get the bacteria removed from their teeth and gingiva and bone re-evaluate every 3 months in order to maintain the bone level where it’s at. Unfortunately once you have lost the bone that holds in your teeth it won’t grow back, and you will have periodontal disease for the rest of your life. Though you will never be “cured” of the periodontal disease it can be managed and by taking care of yourself you can keep your teeth.