Gingivitis and Adult Periodontitis are the two major types of gum disease that patients deal with. In case of gingivitis, the infection is confined to the gums and there is no adverse effect on the bone surrounding the teeth. This type of infection is easily treatable and reversible by getting back into a regular maintenance routine and being more discipline with your flossing and brushing.
In case of adult periodontitis, there is not only infection in the gums, but also in the bone surrounding the teeth. There is irreversible bone loss that occurs due to this infection. The ultimate goal in treating adult periodontitis is to stop the infection and the process of bone loss that occurs due to the infection. Unfortunately, in most cases that affect the entire mouth, there is no way we could ever reverse the damage that has already occurred. The best we can hope for is to stop further bone loss. This is done by initially doing deep cleaning, scaling and root planning.
Once a patient has gone through the initial phase of treatment, it is the patient’s homecare and their recommended maintenance visits which will determine the success of their treatment. Within a month after the deep cleaning, there will be an evaluation visit during which the patient’s level of home care is evaluated. Oral hygiene instructions will be reemphasized if necessary and depending on the patient’s following visits, they may or may not need the secondary phase of treatment which includes application of localized antibiotics or in some cases referral to the gum specialist for further surgical treatment. Patients that have ever had adult periodontitis usually are required to receive 3-4 maintenance cleanings in a year to prevent the relapse of the infection.