Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket: generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.  It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs.

A non-surgical approach known as scaling is the first in a series of periodontal procedures used for gum disease treatment. During tooth scaling, an instrument called a scaler is used to remove dental plaque and dental calculus from beneath the gums. While it’s a common practice to manually scrape away deposits, many dental offices are now equipped with ultrasonic dental cleaners, which use ultrasound vibrations to break up dental calculus.  Once the dental plaque and dental calculus have been removed, the area that has been scraped leaves a jagged appearance. Planing is the procedure used to smooth the tooth’s root. Root planing helps gums heal: It’s easier for gums to reattach themselves to a smoother root than one still suffering from the results of gum disease. The smooth surface also helps keep dental plaque from attacking the tooth’s root, making it easier to maintain the gums following dental treatment. While scaling and root planing helps prevent gum disease from spreading, it may be able to reverse the signs of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.