Periodontal Therapy

Dr. Kristoff has special training to treat periodontal disease and other problems of the gums. Periodontal disease is an advanced infection of the gums that is defined by the loss of supporting bone around your teeth. Periodontal disease leads to tooth loss by eating away at the supporting bone to the point that the teeth become loose and eventually fall out.

Periodontal disease cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. Once bone is lost around teeth, it is often impossible to grow back even with treatment. However, if periodontal disease is diagnosed early, it can be controlled so no more supporting bone is lost.

The first part of diagnosis is measuring the pocket depth of your gums around all of your teeth. 1-3mm is considered a healthy measurement. 4-5mm is a sign of swelling, bone loss, and loss of attachment of gums from the teeth. 6mm or more is a very clear sign of advancing periodontal disease. A full mouth set of X-rays is also an important part of the diagnosis.

Depending on the overall diagnosis, therapy usually starts with a scaling (also known as a “deep cleaning”). We make every effort to use gentle care to put your gums to sleep (local anesthesia) and thoroughly remove the bacterial deposits (tarter) that are the source of the infection. Most patients get an immediate improvement after the deposits are removed.

Long term we suggest having periodontal maintenance visits every 3-4 months. These are much more than just a standard cleaning. During your visit, we re-examine every deep pocket to make sure it is clean. The desired effect is to shrink the pocket depth to 3mm or less. Sometimes success relies on placing antibiotics in the pocket.

Other times, gum surgery is required to get to the bottom of the pocket and remove deposits and scar tissue that keep the infection going. We skillfully and comfortably perform both traditional gum surgery and laser gum surgery.

The laser allows us to treat a wider array of cases more comfortably. With the laser, we can disinfect the pocket and create a seal without stitches to allow more comfortable healing. Sedation is also available during your visit.