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Periodontal Therapy

Protect Your Gums. Protect Your Health

Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is actually the most common dental problem in the entire world. Early symptoms include red, swollen, and tender gum tissue that also tends to bleed after brushing and flossing. If these symptoms are left untreated, this infection can eventually lead to tooth loss! At Harrisonburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we take the health of our patients' gums very seriously. If our team finds any signs of this disease, we can quickly treat it using a range of treatments known as periodontal therapy.

Scaling and Root Planing

Person with elegant smileIf a patient is showing signs of early-stage gum disease (called periodontitis) we’ll first try to treat it using something called a “deep cleaning,” which actually consists of two separate procedures known as scaling and root planing.

With scaling, your dentist will use small tools to gently break up and clear away plaque and tartar deposits located near and underneath your gum line. Then, root planing will be used to gently smooth out the rough surfaces of your teeth’s roots. This will make it much harder for plaque to accumulate on them in the future, which means you'll be less likely to develop serious gum disease again. Depending on the extent of a patient’s infection, an entire deep cleaning can typically be completed in about one to four appointments. Before beginning, your dentist will thoroughly numb the area with local anesthesia to make sure you are comfortable the entire time.

ARESTIN® Antibiotic Treatment

Model of the ARESTIN treatmentAfter your deep cleaning, our dentists may choose to apply a topical antibiotic to your gums in order to further fight the infection. Bacteria associated with gum disease will typically gather and multiply in the small spaces between your gums and teeth, which are known as periodontal pockets. While scaling and root planing can eliminate much of this bacteria, the treatment may not be able to reach all of it if the periodontal pocket is deep enough. That’s where antibiotic treatment comes in.

Your dentist or hygienist will apply the wax-like substance directly to your infected gums, which is made of thousands of tiny micro-spheres. Each of these micro-spheres are filled with a powerful anti-microbial agent. This will slowly dissolve over the next seven days so that it can reach the deepest bacterial accumulations. Between this, your deep cleaning, and diligent brushing and flossing at home, our patients should see complete relief from your gum disease.