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What Are My Options For Treating Periodontal Disease?

What Are My Options For Treating Periodontal Disease? 

So, really, What Are My Options For Treating Periodontal Disease?

Okay, so by now you should probably know that Periodontal Disease is the permanent loss of your jawbone!  Currently, there is no predictable way to get all the lost bone back.  You will always have the bone loss, but this can be managed.  Periodontal Disease can be one of the following:

  1. Active Periodontal Disease means that bone loss and infection are actively progressing. This is bad!  It is time for periodontal therapy from a qualified and talented dental hygienist and/or dentist.
  2. Periodontal Disease that is not active. The active infection has been controlled and ongoing periodontal therapy should help keep you from continuing to have infections and losing more bone.  This is good.

Active Periodontal disease with a fairly severe gum infection.

What Are My Options For Treating Periodontal Disease?

This is a good question with a good answer.  Periodontal therapy to treat periodontal disease should come after a thorough exam and diagnosis of your current periodontal and dental health.  This comprehensive exam must include the following:

  1. Careful measuring around every tooth to check for pockets, recession, tartar, bleeding and infection. This can be completed by a dentist or a qualified dental hygienist.
  2. A thorough dental examination of the teeth (this must be done by a dentist) for any problem areas. Gaps, broken fillings or teeth, and rough restorations might be contributing to difficulty in cleaning, tooth mobility, or food impaction.
  3. An evaluation of your TMJ or jaw joint.
  4. An evaluation of the chewing muscles.
  5. A complete soft tissue and oral cancer exam.

Periodontal Therapy Options:

  • Periodontal Debridement

    • This is a very specialized cleaning of the teeth to the depth of the pockets
    • Tartar is carefully removed. The hygienist removes any debris and hard deposits that are adhering to your teeth.  This is kind of like removing the barnacles off a pier.
    • The root of the tooth should be smooth after this treatment not rough or damaged. It is very important to select a talented dental hygienist for this treatment.  In our office, my hygienists are continually undergoing continuing education to keep up with the best techniques available and quality care is their top priority.
    • The entire procedure should be comfortable for you with the use of numbing rinses and/or local anesthetic
    • Our hygienists clean into your pockets and this helps remove a major reservoir of bacteria and toxins. The tartar or calculus that our hygiene team removes for you is like an apartment complex for periodontal and gum disease bacteria.  The hygienists will disrupt the sticky biofilm full of bacteria and food that is around your teeth below the gums.
    • The hygienist will assist you with a program for proper home care.


  • Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy or LAPT

    • A specialized laser is used to selectively remove the diseased and infected tissue around your teeth.
    • This laser selectively targets diseased, infected tissue and leaves healthy tissue alone.
    • At the same time, the laser will kill the bacteria that are causing your gum disease, and stimulate the gums to heal.
    • Many studies have found that lasers (the right ones!) help increase circulation at the bottom of your pockets and helps revive or rejuvenate your gum attachment.
    • Curettage with the laser removes memory cells that turn on inflammation.

A less severe case of periodontal disease.

  • Surgical Periodontal Therapy without a Laser
    • One way to eliminate the pockets is by cutting your gums off to reduce the pockets back down to 3mm or less. This is usually done by a periodontist.
    • Surgical removal of gum tissue and/or repositioning the gums closer to the bone to eliminate the pockets will leave your teeth with an elongated appearance.
    • This type of surgery may also cause the teeth to be very sensitive to temperature changes until they have adapted.
    • Bone grafting to try to replace the bone that has been lost.


  • Waterlase Surgical Periodontal Therapy With a Er, Cr: YSGG laser
    • A very specialized laser is used to access the depth of the pockets without laying a full flap of your gums. The Laser will do the following
      • Kill off bacteria (bactericidal effect)
      • Remove diseased sulcular lining
      • Remove calculus
      • Create root detoxification
      • Promote repair of bone and healthy tissue via selective wound healing


In our office our talented hygienists combine the first two, periodontal debridement with laser assisted periodontal therapy (LAPT), so that you will get the best results from this less invasive therapy.  When we complete periodontal debridement including laser therapy, our goal is to prevent further irreversible loss of your jaw bone.   Can we stop bone loss completely? Sometimes we can!  If we cannot stop bone loss, we can slow it down.  We can help you to manage this disease.


You might ask, “Why don’t all dental offices do this?”

This is a good question and it boils down to education about current treatment modalities that have been proven effective in the treatment of periodontal disease; and cost.   Lasers are very expensive and the correct use of lasers requires advanced training.

During your cleaning, the laser will be used as an anti-inflammatory.  The objective in periodontal therapy is to reduce pockets, disrupt biofilm, and carefully smooth the root surfaces.

Following this initial therapy, you will return to our office in about 3-4months for us to re-evaluate the success of this periodontal therapy.  At that time we will determine is we need to continue with surgical therapy in our office and with Dr. Gillis or refer you to a periodontist for surgical periodontal treatment.


Depending on your response to therapy, we may add one or more of the following:

  • Probiotics – defined at the daily administration of certain live microorganisms in amounts adequate to confer a health benefit on the host.
  • Customized medicament trays that have been proven to improve your periodontal health. Perio Protect
  • Modifications to hour daily oral hygiene regimen.

Dental offices treat periodontal disease differently,  We know how important having a healthy mouth is to your overall health, so our office continues to improve the way that we manage periodontal disease if better treatments and therapies are available.  Please call to schedule an appointment if you are concerned about your teeth and gums and the bone that supports them!  Our Grand Junction, Colorado office sees patients from across western Colorado and Dr. Julie Gillis and her hygienists, Mel and Whitney are the very best you can find.  Please call (970) 242-3635 if you have any further questions or you would like to become a patient in our practice.

Yours for better dental health,

http://www.juliegillisdds.comJulie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smile