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Non Surgical Periodontal Therapy


Over ¾ of adult Americans have periodontal disease to some degree. This disease has oral and overall health implications which are potentially devastating. Oral implications include gum recession, the loss of supportive bone and ultimately tooth loss.

The same specific bacteria associated with periodontal disease have also been linked to increased blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke and diabetes.

When periodontal treatment is recommended, Dr. Pettigrew has taken into account multiple factors which contribute to a diagnosis of active periodontal disease. These include periodontal measurements, x-rays, presence of gum bleeding gum color and texture. In addition, saliva testing can be done to test for the DNA of specific bacteria known to cause periodontal disease (Oral DNA ®).

Early intervention is recommended in periodontal disease. Earlier treatment is generally less invasive and better outcomes are more predictable. Once bone is lost, it is not able to be recovered. To keep your teeth for a lifetime, the bone which supports your teeth must be kept healthy. This in turn can equate to better overall health because a healthy mouth equals a healthy body.

Non Surgical treatment of the periodontal tissues (gums) involves using very thin blunt ultrasonic instruments to break up the bacterial plaque (biofilm). The utrasonic removes plaque, calculus (tartar) and due to its action breaks down bacterial cell walls. Irrigation with a special antimicrobial in all deep areas follows the ultrasonic use to help further sterilize the area and kill the offending bacteria. Biofilms can be tenacious and stubborn to break up. Some bacteria in the biofilm can be tissue invasive, transmissible and more prone to reoccurrence. DNA saliva testing (My Perio Path®) can be very beneficial in identifying the specific bacteria (pathogen) and can alter the course of treatment (depending on the type of pathogen discovered). An antibiotic is often used locally in deeper infected areas. This antibiotic (Arestin®) is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is a minocyclene derivative. It is time released and targeted in its delivery of antibiotic in the area of need. Systemic antibiotics can also be beneficial in certain periodontal infections. Systemic antibiotics are often needed to kill the more resistant bacteria. Repeated treatment as described above is often necessary to assure that the bacterial infection has resolved and gives the body an opportunity to heal.

Non surgical treatment most often involves no injections. A powerful topical solution is used to “numb” the area treated so that the procedure is painless. It requires no down time as the topical anesthetic wear off in 30-45 minutes allowing resumption of normal activity.

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