Following are some of the procedures that periodontists use to treat patients diagnosed with a periodontal (gum) disease. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth; however, many other factors can cause periodontal (gum) disease or influence its progression.

Non-Surgical Treatments

AAP treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment such as:   

Scaling and Root Planing: A careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins, followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.   

Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment, including surgical therapy. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health.   Non-surgical therapy does have its limitations, however, and when it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices.

Periodontal Surgery

If you're diagnosed with periodontal disease, your periodontist may recommend periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is necessary when your periodontist determines that the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical treatment.

The following are the four types of surgical treatments most commonly prescribed:

  • Pocket Reduction Procedures:  When supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, "pockets" form around the teeth. Learn more.
  • Regenerative Procedures: Bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. Learn more.
  • Crown Lengthening: Your teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they're covered with too much gum tissue. Learn more.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts: Periodontal procedures are available to stop further dental problems and gum recession. Learn more.
  • Dental Implants: A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Learn more. Learn more.
If you've already lost a tooth to periodontal disease or other reasons, you may be interested in dental implants—the permanent tooth replacement option.